NetComm Wireless reaps $28 million windfall from NBN FTTC

Prepares for first DPU order for FTTC rollout

NBN has placed its first order with NetComm Wireless for four-point distribution point units (DPUs). The DPUs will be used for NBN’s fibre to the curb offering (FTTC; also known as fibre to the distribution point or FTTdp).

The order is worth $28 million to NetComm Wireless, with delivery of the DPUs expected to take place between June and August this year.

The DPUs can be installed in telecommunications pits on a street or on power poles. The units connect optical fibre to an existing copper phone line for the final connection to a home.

Initially, NBN’s FTTC services will be based on VDSL. However NBN has said that potentially other, faster copper-based technologies such as XG-FAST can be rolled out.

NBN trialed FTTC in the first half of 2016. Originally NBN envisaged a limited use of the technology to connect around 300,000 premises. In particular, NBN planned to use it in areas where it would prove difficult to deliver power to the nodes used in fibre to the node (FTTN), which is another technology that employs copper for the final connection to a home.

NBN has since expanded the planned FTTC rollout to some 700,000 premises. The expansion was a result of NBN’s decision to largely ditch the use of Optus’ hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) pay TV infrastructure. NBN has said that it is more cost effective to switch to FTTC in the Optus HFC footprint.

In November, NBN announced that it had signed the ASX-listed NetComm Wireless to supply one- and four-port DPUs.

The initial DPU order is subject to readiness review testing by NBN, NetComm Wireless said. That process is scheduled for April.

“NetComm Wireless’ receipt of this initial order commitment from NBN is a very positive start to our execution of this significant contract, and builds on our strong existing relationship with NBN,” NetComm Wireless acting CEO Ken Sheridan said in a statement.

Sheridan said the company expected to move to a monthly supply of DPUs to NBN, as the National Broadband Network FTTC rollout ramps up.

NetComm Wireless has also supplied some of the technology used for fixed wireless NBN connections under a deal with Ericsson.

NBN yesterday announced its results for the first half of FY17.

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