NBN Co has moved 1.2 million premises from the “HFC” pile to the “FTTN” pile in its construction planning, which is bad news for anyone living in those premises. As for who that is exactly, we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out.
If you had checked the NBN’s plan for your home and were set to receive a hybrid fibre coaxial connection, there’s around a a 25% chance you might be downgraded to fibre-to-the-node. A previously 4 million planned premises for HFC has just dropped to potentially as low as 2.5 million, and could drop further.
HFC uses fibre right up until the point it uses the connection that your Foxtel or Optus TV would use. It’s not as good as fibre all the way into your home, but it’d be quite a few years before our networks are upgraded to the point when a total-fibre solution surpasses it in speed. Fibre-to-the-Node, however, will be surpassed in the very next generation of Australian internet, reaching a ceiling of 100Mb/s (lower for many Australians) and never going any higher. It’ll be outdated much sooner rather than later, and won’t be able to support increasing streaming, video conferencing, and upload demands that are expected by around 2025.
CEO Bill Morrow said the change came as a result of better understanding the state of the hybrid fibre coaxial networks acquired from Foxtel and Optus. “The data that is available today changed the type of technology we should choose.”
He also left the door open for further changes down the track.
It wasn’t that long ago that it was revealed that completing NBN Co’s FTTN plans would involve three words the human race should never hear again: “Laying new copper”. As Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare put it, due to degradation of the copper network, we’re now laying enough new copper to stretch from Brisbane to Beijing and back. That mistake just got a little bit worse.