More FTTC in the works, NBN boss says

More homes previously expected to receive FTTN will receive FTTC

NBN’s chief executive Bill Morrow says that the company will be “making some announcements soon” about wider use of fibre to the curb (FTTC) technology for the National Broadband Network rollout.

FTTC will continue to replace planned fibre to the node (FTTN) connections in some areas, the CEO told a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday evening.

“We’re going to move a number of FTTN homes onto FTTC,” Morrow said.

NBN has already scaled-up its planned deployment of FTTC, which is also known as fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp).

NBN originally planned to roll FTTC out to some 300,000 premises, mainly in areas where it would be difficult to power the nodes required by FTTN.

Then in September last year NBN said around 700,000 premises would be hooked up with the technology, after it decided to ditch the use of Optus’ hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) infrastructure, with the exception of one Queensland suburb.

In April NBN’s chief network engineering officer, Peter Ryan, said that an additional 300,000 premises originally slated to receive FTTN would receive the technology.

FTTC can deliver a significant speed advantage for end users. It relies on a shorter length of copper to connect a household: Fibre is laid to the telecoms pit on a street outside a home, and the existing copper pair is used for the final connection to a home.

Unlike FTTN, it also doesn’t require a powered node (the power necessary for the connection is delivered within an end user’s premises).

Rolling out FTTC costs more per premise than FTTN, Morrow said, and also takes longer.

NBN has previously argued that it’s not possible to completely ditch the use of FTTN.

NBN has not yet launched commercial FTTC services — that is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2018. Details of the expanded FTTC rollout will be included in NBN’s updated corporate plan, which is expected to be released soon.

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