NBN ‘aggressively’ seeking to cut FTTC costs

NBN CEO optimistic that more planned FTTN connections can be dumped in favour of FTTC

NBN CEO Bill Morrow

NBN CEO Bill Morrow

NBN CEO Bill Morrow says the company is “aggressively looking” at how it can further cut the costs of deploying fibre to the curb (FTTC) in order to use the technology in more areas that would otherwise receive fibre to the node (FTTN) or hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) connections.

Morrow yesterday told a Senate Estimates hearing that NBN was interested in rolling out more FTTC as long as the company was able to meet the government’s expectations about the cost and timeline for completing the National Broadband Network.

NBN's most recent corporate plan puts the cost per premises of FTTC at $2900, compared to $2300 for FTTN.

“I’m optimistic… that we’re going to be able to do more FTTC than even what we’ve stated in our public plans,” Morrow said.

“I’m fairly confident that we’re going to be able to do more FTTC than what we had thought and that will mean less FTTN and perhaps a few less HFC – but the FTTN is likely to be the bigger transfer,” the CEO said, although he wouldn’t be drawn on the number of premises likely to be added to the network operator’s FTTC footprint.

Morrow told the committee he would reveal details of additional FTTC premises “in a reasonable amount of time”.

NBN has currently detailed plans to roll out FTTC to around a million households and businesses.

Like FTTN, FTTC relies on copper wiring to connect households. However, it employs a shorter length of copper and doesn’t rely on a powered node.

NBN in October revealed details of plans to boost the performance of FTTC and fibre to the building (FTTB) services, using the new G.fast standard. G.fast is capable of offering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The company conducted field trials of the technology in 2015.

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