NBN end users approach 100Mbps with FTTN

300 more nodes to add 45,000 premises to FTTN rollout

One of the first end users to be connected as part of NBN Co's trial of fibre-to-the-node technology has hit download speeds of 96 megabits per second and upload speeds of 30Mbps, the company charged with rolling out the National Broadband Network revealed today.

NBN revealed earlier this year its engineers had achieved raw speeds 105Mbps down and 45Mbps up in a FTTN test that didn't involve any end users.

A statement issued by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said that FTTN users in the trial were achieving speeds of around 100/30Mbps over distances greater than 500 metres.

Location Download Upload Approx Distance from NBN node
Trafalgar Ave Umina Beach 98 Mbps 33 Mbps 475 Metres
Britannia St Umina Beach 98 Mbps 33 Mbps 190 Metres
Australia St Umina Beach 97 Mbps 30 Mbps 515 Metres
Bourke Rd Umina Beach 97 Mbps 28 Mbps 390 Metres
Oxford St Umina Beach 98 Mbps 28 Mbps 250 Metres

Source: Department of Communications

Under a statement of expectations issued by the government in April NBN Co has been given a mandate to use a mixture of technologies for the NBN, including FTTN in the majority of brownfield areas.

The government's statement of expectations backed a scenario, contained in a strategic review of NBN Co operations carried out last year that involves the use of HFC for connecting premises in areas where HFC networks exist; FTTP in brownfields areas where it’s the “most economical choice” either because of high revenue potential or because of the cost of FTTN; FTTN in areas with lower revenue potential; the use of fibre-to-the-basement especially for large apartment blocks; and the use of fixed wireless and satellite for 6 per cent of premises.

The original Labor-backed design for the NBN was based on primarily using fibre-to-the-premises technology to connect homes and businesses to the network.

NBN Co and Telstra earlier this year announced a deal, reportedly worth $150 million, to pilot the design and construction of around 1000 nodes.

That agreement "involves planning, design and construction of the FTTN technology after which the companies will contemplate piloting the connection of premises to the NBN. Customer migration is not part of the construction trial," according to an NBN Co factsheet.

The agreement with Telstra covers Belmont, Boolaroo, Gorokan, Hamilton and Morisset in NSW; and in Bribie Island, Bundaberg, Caboolture, Gympie and Warner in Queensland.

NBN Co is conducting separate FTTN trials at Umina in NSW and Epping in Victoria.

Separate to the Telstra deal the organisation plans to build some 300 nodes in Warner, Queensland, and Woy Woy, New South Wales, as part of its FTTN trials.

Read more: Telstra hits back over bandwidth pricing claims

These nodes will add some 45,000 premises to the NBN's FTTN footprint.

"Our plans to build more than 300 additional nodes on top of our construction trial with Telstra will see us benchmark industry best practices as we gear up for wide-scale deployment of the FTTN technology," NBN Co CEO Billow Morrow said in a statement issued today.

"These initiatives are key components in progressing NBN Co’s move to a mix of broadband technologies which will help us scale-up the NBN rollout across the country," Morrow said.

"The early results and real customer experiences ... demonstrate that existing technologies such as the copper network are capable of playing a vital role in delivering the NBN quicker, more efficiently and cheaper for all Australians."

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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