The NBN is in the news a lot. Are they delivering on their promises? Will Australians get the internet connections they need to adapt and survive in the ever more demanding information age or be stuck staring at loading animations for the foreseeable future. A lot of people are upset with the current plans, concerned that they will need to be upgraded continuously over the foreseeable future as demand for high speed internet increases but many are supportive of the present methodology. In this article we will discuss some of the recent news concerning the NBN and also elucidate some of the terminology surrounding it.
HFC (Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial) cables are what has been historically used to carry cable internet and pay-tv connections to the home. The NBN HFC network is based on Telstra’s existing HFC network but offers much higher download and upload speeds once connected to the NBN. NBN also acquired the Optus HFC network but then decided the aging equipment needed to be decommissioned.
Presently there is a hold on any new connections to the HFC network in order to improve network quality and reliability. This freeze even applies if you’re in a ready for service area but haven’t taken up a connection yet. Expect delays in excess of 6 months on top of current wait times.
Debate Rages on Regarding Fibre to the Node or the Premise
The original plan for the NBN involved running fibre optic cable to the premise (FTTP) all over Australia. As many people are aware the original plan was abandoned by the coalition in favour of a fibre to the node (FTTN) plan. The new plan means the central network is still a fibre optic network, but that many people will tap into the fibre network via copper cable from their premise to the NBN node.
Critics of the FTTN plan argue that the high speeds promised by the NBN are not going to be possible using copper networks as figures released to a Senate committee show only 24% of FTTN connections will reach or exceed 100Mbps. This is compared to 100% of FTTP connections.
Proponents and supporters of the FTTN plan argue that even in areas where this are options for 100Mbps connections now less than 20% of customers are choosing them.
There is also the new plan of Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) NBN roll out. This is somewhere between FTTN and FTTP with the fibre optic cable coming as close to your house as the curb and then the final connection only being made of copper. This mode promises connections in excess of 100Mbps but will not be available everywhere.