‘Fibre to the curb’ rollout one step closer, NBN says

Signs deal with NetComm Wireless to provide DPUs for FTTC/FTTdp

NBN has signed an agreement with NetComm Wireless for the supply of distribution point units (DPUs) that will be used in the roll out of ‘fibre to the curb’ (FTTC — also called fibre to the distribution point or FTTdp).

NetComm Wireless will provide one- and four-port DPUs, NBN said.

The technology is set to play a much larger than expected role in the National Broadband Network rollout, with NBN announcing earlier this year that, outside of one suburb in Brisbane, it would not employ the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) infrastructure built by Optus.

Although NBN intends to use of Telstra’s HFC infrastructure, it said it will instead roll out FTTC within the Optus HFC footprint.

Up to 700,000 premises are expected to be connected using the technology — up from the 300,000 the company had previously intended to hook up using FTTC/FTTdp.

FTTC involves rolling out optical fibre significantly closer to end users’ premises than the fibre to the node (FTTN) technology used elsewhere in the network. However unlike fibre to the premises (FTTP), it still relies on copper phonelines to hook up a home.

The DPUs will be installed in street pits where currently phonelines are connected to multi-pair copper cables. While FTTN relies powered nodes, FTTC can draw on power from an end user’s premises to deliver a VDSL connection over the phoneline.

NBN says that although initially FTTC services will be based on VDSL, potentially other copper-based technologies the company has been trialling, such as XG-FAST, can be employed.

“We have tested FTTC over the past 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,” NBN chief network engineering officer, Peter Ryan, said in a statement.

“Delivering FTTC will not only allow us to deliver speeds of up to 100/40Mbps using VDSL but will also allow us to offer even faster speeds in the future with some of the new technologies that are becoming available.”

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