NBN Co pushes back FTTB release date

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NBN Co pushes back FTTB release date

No retail services until next year.

NBN Co does not expect to release a fibre-to-the-basement product for end users until the first few months of 2015, several months later than the intended launch date of October 2014.

In a recently released updated product roadmap for July, NBN Co revealed it expected to release an FTTB product to the market in the first quarter of 2015, several months later than initially stated by the company's chief executive.

The wholesale network operator has also extended trials of the service for an extra six months until October 2014.

The pilot began in January, and includes the deployment of digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAMs) in 10 multi-dwelling units with an average mix of between 80 and 100 residential and commercial premises.

NBN Co has forecast undertaking “business readiness testing” for FTTB services from December 2014, to ensure the product is ready for deployment.

It then expects to onboard retail service providers to the FTTB product from January 2015 to start offering services to the public.

But the later timeline for the market release of the services - which has been included in the roadmap for the first time - comes in contrast to NBN Co's earlier promise to accelerate the rollout of FTTB services in response to the commercial threat posed by internet service provider TPG.

NBN Co Bill Morrow additionally told a Senate Select Committee hearing in May an FTTB product would be available to the public by October as a direct reaction to the TPG threat.

TPG began construction of an extended FTTB network in March and is currently trialling the technology with a number of customers.

An NBN Co spokesperson said the timelines outlined in the roadmap were estimates and subject to revision as "product development proceeds and matures", but declined to comment on whether the revised timeframe would hinder its ability to compete with TPG.

"We expect to offer the FTTB product to service providers for testing from October 2014 with the aim of releasing a commercially available product in early 2015," the spokesperson said.

NBN Co also declined to offer detail on the release date for its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) or hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) products. 

According to the roadmap, NBN Co delivered a consultation paper to the industry on FTTN product development in the first half of this year, and will continue to trial the technology until the end of September, with DSLAMs in 20 nodes connecting 400 premises.

NBN Co and Telstra recently concluded months of negotiations over how the trial would be delivered, signing a $150 million deal for Telstra to design and build 1000 nodes serving 200,000 premises in regional areas of Queensland and NSW in order to test the technology.

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