Thursday, 13 November 2014 16:50

NBN to maximise and upgrade use of existing network tech Featured

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Australia’s National Broadband Network Company, NBN Co, has announced its principles for its mix of multiple technologies used to roll out much faster NBN speeds for Australians without ripping out existing technologies and installing new fibre everywhere.

Years after the NBN was but a twinkle in former Australian PM Kevin Rudd’s bespectacled eyes, NBN Co has outlined a specific set of principles reflecting the current Federal Government’s plans to use a multiple mix of technologies to roll out and upgraded NBN.

The company says that ‘these broad principles pave the way for the full transition to a multi-technology network and support the company’s commitment to roll out the NBN at the least cost to taxpayers and as quickly as possible.’

Utilisation of existing ‘fit-for-purpose’ network infrastructure is part of NBN Co’s plan to ‘deliver the minimum data rates required by the Federal Government’s broadband policy’.

According to NBN Co, the multi-technology principles mean that most households and businesses:
 
- already served by the Optus or Telstra Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) cable networks, will receive fast broadband over an upgraded HFC network;

- where the NBN fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network has been deployed or is in advanced stages of being built, will remain part of the FTTP rollout; and,

- where the NBN fixed wireless or satellite networks are earmarked for deployment, will remain part of the Fixed Wireless or Satellite rollout.

- All other communities are likely to receive fast broadband over fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and, in the case of multi-dwelling units such as apartment blocks, fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB).

A ‘fibre-on-demand product’ is being considered, with additional work underway ‘to develop guidelines so that individuals or businesses with specific speed requirements can purchase fibre up to their premises’. 

Obviously there will be a cost associated with providing ‘fibre-on-demand’, with no indication from the NBN Co in its media release as to precisely what this cost would be, although previous discussion of this option has suggested costs of well over four figures to get this installed.

At least this kind of installation will be done at a company or end-user’s expense that needs the fastest possible connection, as opposed to be being funded out of the public purse, especially at a time when ever faster wireless connections are consistently emerging, alongside technologies such as Artemis Networks which threatens to revolutionise wireless completely and make wired connections to homes one day completely obsolete.

Equally so, NBN Co says it will ‘work with small communities that choose to co-fund FTTP if they are in an alternative technology area.’

NBN Co warns that ‘the incorporation into the NBN of copper and HFC assets is contingent upon the successful conclusion of negotiations currently underway with Telstra and SingTel Optus’, although we are sure to get a trumpeting announcement from NBN the millisecond those deals are signed, sealed and delivered on the copper and HFC networks in question.
  
NBN Co’s CEO, Bill Morrow, said: “In order to optimise the benefits of a digital economy we must first, and foremost, address the under-penetration of broadband access as soon as possible.” 

“Universal Access, sufficient speeds, affordability and the time to build are all key factors necessary for us to achieve these benefits and the MTM guidelines were developed with these in mind.”
 
“Furthermore, these principles will give greater clarity to local communities and service providers about how the NBN is being rolled out and the criteria underpinning the choice of technology in each community.”
 
Morrow said NBN Co was ‘committed to reviewing the principles on an ongoing basis to ensure the company was making the best use of the taxpayers’ investment and identifying opportunities to incorporate technology advancements.’

The year 2020 is the date NBN Co expects to have connected 8 million premises with revenues annually of $4 billion.
 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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