Aussie Broadband just connected its first customer to its very own private ‘dark’ fibre network. And we’re pretty jealous about the available speeds.
Private Aussie Broadband fibre network
Aussie Broadband’s fibre network (which is called ‘dark fibre’) is a 20km loop that includes the Melbourne CBD as well as port Melbourne. The telco is referring to this as ‘stage one’ so you may be able to expect an expansion in the future.
Aussie Broadband also confirmed with Gizmodo Australia that it is planning to roll out similar networks “across the five main states” with the Sydney network already under construction.
As it turns out, there is quite a bit of different between this network and regular NBN fibre.
“This is our own fibre in the ground, which means that we can control quality and improve our customer experience even more, and start to drive down our backhaul costs. An added bonus is that we can connect businesses directly to our fibre,” an NBN spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
And as cool as the term ‘dark fibre’ sounds, it’s for a technical reason.
“Dark fibre refers to unlit fibre optic cable (laid out but not yet activated). In contrast to dark fibre, using a layer 2 or layer 3 ethernet service is on the basis of leased bandwidth. The network is already activated and you’re not necessarily managing the connection or equipment yourself,” the spokesperson explained.
How much does it cost and how fast is it?
This is where it gets interesting.
You might be aware that regular NBN plans have speeds attached to them – NBN 100 and NBN 50, for example. This refers to the theoretical speed those connections should get. But generally they don’t. This is because there are things that can impact internet speeds that our outside the control of an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The biggest, and most obvious, is congestion. The more people on your network at the one time, the laggier it will most likely be. That’s why telcos generally advertise average evening speeds, because this is when most people are online and trying to do things like stream tv or game. That being said, Telstra did recently bring out a few NBN plans that guarantee the advertised speeds.
You can learn more about why your internet is slower than what you pay for in our article here.
Because the new Aussie Broadband fibre plans are on a private network, it can guarantee its speeds.
“These fibre connections will achieve the full speed at any time, because it’s privately operated fibre,” Aussie Broadband confirmed with Gizmodo Australia
Not only that, the plans are bloody fast, not to mention pricey.
For comparison, regular NBN residential and business plans only go as fast as NBN 1000. In fact, NBN 1000 and NBN 250 were only introduced in 2020.
Can I connect to the Aussie Broadband fibre?
If you’re looking for a residential connection, no.
Due to regulations around offering direct fibre connections to small business and individual customers, Aussie Broadband is only offering its private fibre plans to businesses with at least 20 employees. These businesses need to have access to fibre connectivity and be within the 20km loop.
This also explains the prices – it’s not for regular folk but businesses that require these kinds of speeds and are more likely able to afford a cheeky $5,000 a month.
Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting here dreaming of accessing speeds like that. I guess I’d just download the entire Internet Archive for lols?