NBN Scraps Optus Cable, Will Give 700,000 Homes ‘Fibre To The Curb’ Instead

NBN Scraps Optus Cable, Will Give 700,000 Homes ‘Fibre To The Curb’ Instead

The rollout of Australia’s NBN will abandon almost all of Optus’s HFC cable network that it paid $800 million for back in 2011, with up to 700,000 homes around the country instead being connected to the NBN through fibre to the distribution point — a new technology that brings many of the advantages of fibre to the premises to a fibre to the node-style construction method.

FTTdp, also called ‘fibre to the curb’ by NBN, will be rolled out within the Optus HFC network footprint, and will replace the hybrid fibre-coaxial cables that were originally planned to continue in service as part of the incumbent Liberal government’s multi-technology mix NBN. One area of the Optus network, Redcliffe in Queensland, is already connected to the NBN via HFC and will stay that way but the rest of the footprint will be switched to FTTdp.

NBN paid $800 million to Optus in 2011 to eventually decommission the telco’s HFC network and transfer its customers to the NBN, with a revised agreement in 2014 giving NBN the option to use HFC as it chose — which formed a significant part of the Liberal government’s apparently significantly cheaper MTM rollout. That agreement remains in place, but the network will instead be eventually decommissioned as originally planned. A 2015 leaked document slammed the quality of Optus’ network and may have contributed to this decision.

Fibre to the distribution point sees optical fibre rolled out ‘to the curb’ of individual homes in a street or suburb, much closer than the end-of-street sites of many fibre to the node installations; this allows it to achieve higher theoretical download and upload speeds than FTTN. It also allows a fully fibre to the premises rollout to individual homes to be made available after the initial installation at a much lower cost.

NBN is still using Telstra’s cable network to connect customers to the NBN using HFC technology, though — and that progressive switchover will continue with 900,000 services expected to be available before the middle of 2017. A total of up to 3.2 million homes will be connected to the NBN through HFC according to the national broadband network company’s updated corporate plan from August of this year.

From NBN’s chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan: “We have tested FTTdp over the last year and we’re confident we can now deploy the technology in areas where it makes better sense from a customer experience, deployment efficiency and cost perspective. This includes premises in the FTTN footprint that have too high a cost per premises (CPP) and premises served solely by the legacy Optus HFC footprint that are yet to be made ready for service… nbn has confirmed it will deploy FTTdp in those areas where the use of the Optus HFC network was planned, with the exception of the already launched network in Redcliffe, Queensland.

“The move to FTTdp was outlined in the 2017 Corporate Plan where we stated nbn’s overall HFC footprint would be between 2.5 and 3.2 million by 2020, with more premises being served by FTTN, Fibre-to-the-Building and FTTdp. These ranges reflect nbn’s flexible and technology-agnostic approach. HFC remains a highly valued part of our MTM deployment, however in balancing the requirements to convert Optus’s current network architecture and design to be nbn-ready, and the opportunity to introduce FTTdp, makes the new technology compelling in these selected areas.”

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


  • to NOBODY’S great surprise, it turns out the replacement hybrid scheme was uneconomical -_-
    anyone else wonder what ELSE the better part of a billion dollars could have been better spent on??

  • Ugh. The fact no one will ever be made accountable for the this debacle…. anyway, fast..er internet sometime in my lifetime. Woo.

    • Not in my lifetime! I live in a black spot, surrounded by NBN available places, but no plans (yet) to even start building in my area. Yay 🙂

        • Me too! Safe electorate = not even an estimated start date for NBN rollout. “It won’t make a difference to the next election result if you change your vote, so f*** you”.

          *high five*

  • Was about to start groaning at even HFC not being laid then saw FttDP was being used.

    I haven’t had my coffee yet so I’m still expecting this rare sign of common sense to disappear once I drink it.

    • As the article says, the $800M was under the original NBN plan for Optus to decommission their network and have customers transferred over to the NBN. This would be similar to NBNco paying Telstra for each land linephone customer being transferred over. This is in recognition that one company is losing a revenue source and the other is gaining one.

      Now we likely made another payment to Optus in negotiating to actually use their network under the MTM scheme. That figure would represent the waste stemming from this announcement.

      And of course, there is the time we’ve wasted stuffing around with the HFC network: if they’d instead spent that time building out the network in those regions, there would be paying customers.

      • im just feeling for poor old gran (not mine) that has to shell out 300+ bucks to change her landline phone over and doesnt know anything about it when basically the whole old system is getting replaced….. its a rought by the NBNco and providers…. there should be compensation in place for these people… not a premium

      • I know. But this is the first sign of common sense I’ve seen from NBN Co. And I’ve been trying to keep on top of this since it’s inception.

        I wasn’t playing around; I seriously though I was seeing things as I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet and honestly expected this article to disappear once I was cafinated.

        Maybe there is hope after all now that they are using an economical between step since Labor screwed the pooch and made fibre now an unaffordable pipe dream (thanks a lot, Conroy and Swan!)

          • And who put the NBN in a state that made it easy to scrap without committing political suicide?

            Joint effort but I still blame Swan for not managing the books and Conroy for not putting the oversight in place to make a strong, stable entity.

            The Coalition (Liberals are not in charge as they are too small) only disposed of the body. Labor were the ones who killed the NBN.

            Either way, this is going beyond the bounds of the thread so I’m deeming this discussion over. I’m not participating in another sh*t throwing contents when both sides are to blame for the NBN’s demise.

          • That not what you said in your first comment. You laid the blame squarely at Labor’s feet. And yet it was Tony Abbott that wanted to “demolish the NBN”. He did a damn good job of it.

          • That’s a bit rich, and there are a tonne of reasons why you are wrong. They are so obvious as to not warrant even going through them, because i think it’s pretty clear to everyone here.

            That said, you blame Labor for killing the NBN when they made it? I don’t think we even need to go beyond that.

          • it was still abbot’s lot who took the Axe to the Original Fiber to the premise ONLY scheme.
            SOLE responsibility lies with them.
            if there was any Justice, abbot and his Cabinate would be forced to personally contribute to paying for the costs of fixing their mistakes

    • I was one of those who was scheduled for a HFC solution, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief as well. FTTdp is a much more intelligent solution.

      In fact, I’m due to start some major renovations in my front yard, in the next year, so I’ll investigate throwing in a conduit for an easy conversion to all fibre.

    • But you don’t understand, that costs money! The Government can’t possibly spend money on something as stupid as the internet.
      Taxpayer funded holidays and perks are a different story >_>

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