In another conveniently timed good news story, NBN has announced that some time in 2018 it will make the first installations of 1Gbps G.fast technology onto the National Broadband Network.
Using 106MHz or 212MHz of spectrum rather than the 17MHz currently used by the VDSL of fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the basement (FTTB) (and fibre to the distribution point), G.fast is capable of download speeds of up to 1Gbps, decupling the current 100Mbps theoretical maximum of the FTTC/FTTB installations already put in place around the country.
G.fast requires a new modem at the premises and for some work to be done at the node, whether it's a FTTB basement or FTTC distribution point, so it's not a simple flip-the-switch upgrade that'll bring 1Gbps connection speeds to every household. In October 2015 testing, NBN achieved download speeds of 600Mbps using G.fast on a 100-metre length of 20-year-old copper.
At a talk at the World Broadband Forum in Berlin, NBN chief strategy officer JB Rousselot has introduced the government-run network company's plan: "Adding G.fast to the toolkit for the FTTC and FTTB networks will allow us to deliver ultra-fast services faster and more cost effectively than if we had to deliver them on a full Fibre-to-the-Premises connection.
"Our FTTP and HFC end-users already have the technology to support Gigabit services and adding G.fast over FTTC provides the upgrade path for our FTTN end users to ultimately receive Gigabit speeds too."
Other parts of the NBN are already capable of 1Gbps speeds: the fibre to the premises portion of the network handles it just fine, and trials of DOCSIS 3.1 on the hybrid fibre-coaxial network achieved 1Gbps downloads in testing.