NBN Co Is Testing HFC Cable Delivery In These Four Suburbs

Part of the new multi-technology mix National Broadband Network, the NBN Co is folding the hybrid-fibre coaxial networks of Optus and Telstra into the rollout. In a bid to prove that these work, the company has announced four suburbs across New South Wales and Queensland that will be test sides for the new NBN HFC service.

NBN Co is trialling the HFC service in Emu Plains, NSW, and Redcliffe, Slacks Creek and Merrimac in Queensland.

"The aim of the construction trial is to deliver valuable insights into how to deploy that upgraded HFC network at scale," said NBN Co's Chief Technology Officer, Dennis Steiger.

Despite the fact that the test connections will be hooked up in mid-2015, they won't have commercial services attached to them until they come into market in 2016.

Would you sign up to the MTM NBN?



    Can anyone confirm the speed HFC might deliver?

      That depends entirely on whether anyone else in your street is also interested in downloading something right now.

      in Mbps. 30/1 or 100/2 (I have 100/2). 300 down is trivial if anybody (ie any ISP) wants it. Scale to 1000 (1gbps) is also fine on current architectures. Uplink is scalable, but you need to dedicate one or more 30mbps shared channels for each duplex, so more uplink means less down (unlike PONS where each direction is a separate "line")

      Back-haul generally is increments of gigE (in most regions) shared with 100-600 houses, but this this absolutely be no different in fiber NBN - the economics of back-haul just are the economics of back-haul, fiber is not magic. Contention is determined by your ISP and the cheapness of your plan, not by the tech, bluntly. I used to have a 1:1 contention business ASDL1 (8/1) line - that is I always got all my bandwidth 24x7. But that cost me $130 per month.

      In my experience cable rocks - it has a fundamental compatibility with TCP/IP in terms of frame sizes etc that means it is very "smooth" - it is basically Ethernet.

      Remember - PONS (fiber) is a SHARED media (tapped) just like cable, and back-haul just is what it is regardless of the last mile.

    Isn't this the crap they had in the US in the 90's?

      Highly upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1. Will provide an equivalent service to NBN Fibre.

        Except they are only going to DOCSIS 3.0

          Actually, DOCSIS 3.1, here from nbnco itself http://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/media-centre/media-releases/nbn-co-to-unleash-fibre-speeds-for-cable-customers.html

    I don't understand the need to keep testing network technologies such as HFC (which was ditched in the UK for FTTP) instead of just rolling out the NBN as promised and planned back in 2010-2011.

    HFC can reach 1GB speeds but only if you invest in technology behind it otherwise you will only achieve the same basic speeds as the fastest cable connections.

      The reason they have to keep "testing" the HFC stuff is that thanks to the new government, they are committed to rolling out technology that every other country has abandoned or is in the process of doing so and they're not quite sure how the hell they're going to deliver the promises they've made of speed using this dog network. Won't be a good look if before the NBN rollout is eve complete they have to replace it already.

        Nope. It is because HFC works and is more economical, probably for decades to come. In the USA Verizon FIOS (PONS fiber) got absolutely killed in open competition with Comcast HFC. PONS can only compete if someone (your tax dollars) wants to swallow 40 years of loss leading per connection, because it costs $2000 to connect each house for PONS vs $200 for HFC, for basically the same QOS now and for some time (say two decades) to come.

      Hey Chris,
      Basically as mentioned above it comes down to budget. The trial areas for FTTH around Australia were in semi rural locations that had predominantly grass front yards opposed to cities where as you would agree are a concrete jungle. it all comes down to the last section of network called the lead-in. To date up to 45% of the total cost of each connection was used for providing a new or upgraded conduit to contain the new fibre cable servicing the dwelling. It is estimated that due to concrete or Hard-Surfaces at nearly all dwelling in high density suburbs this cost would be around the 85% mark. This just isn't financially responsible.
      I have intricate knowledge of the Coffs Harbour roll out and I can tell you this was supposed to be an easy build, we found the opposite. Most of the Telstra conduits that were designed for use were either damaged or blocked so required new build. This blew out to a per house connection cost of $23k per single dwelling, yes you read that correctly.
      FTTH simply couldn't be rolled out in major cities due to nearly all conduits under ground being at capacity.
      HFC is the way to go for now so that people like myself and many others can get speeds above 2.5mbps! LOL

    Emu Plains! So close, yet so far.... *continues browsing on ADSL1 as its still the only thing available Mid Mountains*

    "The proof that these work"???

    Can we please fire the incompetent idiot that's project managing this? It's networking technology first used in the US in the 90s. Australia has had it from around 2000. No need to test. As long as your interconnect between the Fibre node and Coax entry point work it's all good.

    BTW what's the benefit to the end consumer? It's not like you are giving them anything they don't already have. On Telstra cable we have been getting reliable 112 Mbit/sec for years.

      I'd guess the project manager has been forced to test it by politicians so that they can then use the results as a way of grandstanding how their results are better (and somehow cheaper even though they could have just spent the money on putting in fibre and gotten better results) than what Labor was going to do.

    Yeah Telstra Cable here, 118Mbps for years.

      What's your upload speed?

        2 and a bit (sustained), fine unless bit-torrent is your thing.

          Up speed is used for a lot more than seeding torrents.

        Telstra cap their cable up speeds at 2.4Mbps.

        Recently just went through a whole thing with them after wanting higher upload speeds (I had 1Mbps up on their non speed boosted Cable), and multiple of their customer service people told me if I added a speed boost I would get up to 40Mbps up speed. So I added it and my up speed capped out at 2.4Mbps. Turns out, that's the highest speed they offer.

    They are testing DOCIS3.1 standard, which is the very latest coaxial standard

    As they are combining the Optus and Telstra HFC networks they need to replace it all with one standard as Optus use DOCIS3.0 and Telstra uses a bodged up Euro variation of DOCIS3.0

    Don't get me wrong, I'd rather they ripped it out and put some sweet sweet fibre in, but for a lot of people this will be all they ever get, because of this retarded gov policy change, so might as well make it the best damn coax network it can be!

    - Election won by LNP in 2013, promising FTTN for all by end of 2016. A downgrade but looking for that silver lining, at least it would be here sooner.
    - Promise of nationwide FTTN readily abandoned early 2014 in favor of Multi Technology Mix (FTTN, FTTH and a whopping 30%+ of Austrailans premises switching to the HFC cable they already have access to.
    - 12 Months later they are just starting the rollout trials, no one is mentioning their 2016 time frames or the promises they continually break.

    That's if you live in a house. If you live in apartments or units you'll have to wait for FTTB, which I assume won't be part of this schedule.

    HFC operates on a bus topology so I hope that there are LOTS of nodes & thus a lower number of users sharing the bandwidth each node provides...


      PONS is bus too, just two buses (one up, one down). No normal house or flat is getting a dedicated fiber to the head end, you get two taps to one of a smaller number of shared fibers in the street. If you want a dedicated fiber, that's extra and subject to capacity constraints.

    NBN Co is still considering whether or not it should build HFC networks of its own. The trial will help them to determine how affordable a wider HFC rollout would be. HFC has not been understood well enough to appreciate its value.

      Very true, the current HFC network with a bit of TLC and some smarter nodes would be the cleanest spectrum around. The best thing about it, its in the ground!

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