Multi-technology NBN ‘has well and truly failed,’ says Labor’s Rowland

Shadow communications minister assails Turnbull after NBN announces HFC hiatus

The decision by NBN to pause the rollout of hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) services on the National Broadband Network is another example of the failure of the “multi-technology mix” championed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to Labor’s Michelle Rowland.

The shift to a “multi-technology mix” for the National Broadband Network “has well and truly failed,” the shadow communications minister said after NBN’s CEO, Bill Morrow, announced that the company would cease activating new HFC premises while it works to address problems with performance and the migration process.

Morrow said that for premises that are scheduled to be connected using the technology but do not yet have active services there will be a six to nine month delay.

HFC is one of the key fixed-line technologies being used in the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Under Labor’s original vision for the network, fibre to the premises (FTTP) would be used as the sole fixed-line technology.

The new direction overseen by the Coalition after the 2013 election has seen FTTP kept for greenfields premises. However, in addition NBN has been rolling out fibre to the node (FTTN), fibre to the building (FTTB), and fibre to the curb (FTTC) as well as HFC to hook up homes and businesses.

HFC is expected to eventually connect some 3 million premises to the National Broadband Network. There are 375,000 households with active NBN HFC services and about 50,000 premises awaiting activation. Until today’s announcement, around 1 million homes were eligible to order NBN HFC services.

“Malcolm Turnbull's multi-technology mix has well and truly failed,” Rowland said today.

Rowland said that the government is “too scared” to continue rolling out HFC “because it's not working”. The main technology being used for NBN connections in the electorate of Bennelong is HFC, Rowland said. A by-election will be held in Bennelong on 16 December.

Turnbull’s “multi-technology mix has failed” and the “HFC experiment is a dud,” the Labor MP said.

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