NBN Co will soon be able to more efficiently deploy fibre to the curb (FTTC) services instead of its more conventional DSLAM-based fibre to the basement (FTTB) services when connecting smaller multi-dwelling units (MDUs).
MDUs can include blocks of flats and commercial complexes; essentially any building with a single address and more than two premises is classified as an MDU.
Currently, NBN Co’s FTTB connections for blocks of apartments involve installing an independently powered DSLAM in the basement and then relying on existing copper phone lines for the final connection to premises.
Under a new deal with NetComm Wireless, however, NBN Co is preparing to roll out distribution point units (DPUs) that have eight or 16 ports.
DPUs play a key role in FTTC, which involves laying fibre to the telecoms pit close to a home or business. Inside the pit, the fibre is connected to a DPU. A home or business’ phone line then provides the final connection.
Unlike fibre to the node (FTTN) and FTTB, the power to transmit signals over the copper line is provided by the end user’s premises — a situation known as reverse power.
NBN Co’s current FTTC rollout relies on four-port DPUs, with up to two DPUs deployed in a single pit. (NetComm is one of the company’s current DPU suppliers. It also supplies the fixed wireless devices used in the NBN rollout.)
NBN Co is expected to continue using DSLAM-based FTTB for larger buildings. However, for smaller complexes the new DPUs are an alternative to installing a series of four-port DPUs or a micro-node to provide FTTN services.
The new NetComm DPUs will be capable of supporting ultra-fast G.fast services.
NetComm says that a high-port-count DPU with reverse power functionality is a world first.
The new agreement with NetComm Wireless has seen NBN Co commit to ordering at least 10,000 of the new DPUs over an 18 month period. Initial deliveries are expected to take place this financial year.
“We are very pleased to extend our agreement with NBN,” said NetComm CEO and managing director Ken Sheridan.
“More and more operators around the world are looking for a cost-effective way to a deliver a fibre-like experience. We are working with a number of Tier 1 operators in Europe and the UK that are trialing this technology.”