NBN Co tips October launch for FTTB product

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NBN Co tips October launch for FTTB product

Specific apartment blocks to be targeted.

NBN Co expects to have a fibre-to-the-basement product available to end users by October this year, after it completes trials of the technology.

NBN began testing FTTB at a number of apartment blocks in metropolitan areas of Melbourne earlier this year.

It deployed digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAMs) in 10 multi-dwelling units - containing between 80 and 100 commercial and residential premises on average -  in several Melbourne suburbs, working alongside iiNet, Telstra, Optus and M2.

The trial has produced download speeds of 108Mbps and upload speeds of 48Mbps. The trial was initially forecast to complete by the end of April but remains ongoing.

NBN Co was forced to bring forward its fibre activities in metropolitan areas as a response to the “competitive threat” posed by ISP TPG’s own FTTB efforts in areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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

In a Senate Select Committee hearing on the NBN today, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said the company would fast track its FTTB efforts in areas targeted by TPG in order to respond to the competition.

He revealed NBN Co would not provide FTTB services to entire areas identified, and would instead focus on accelerating services to key buildings within the designated areas.

He confirmed NBN Co hoped to have a commercial FTTB product available to end users by October, with the company continuing to roll out fibre-to-the-premise for apartments until then.

NBN Co has also begun trials of fibre-to-the-node technology, which are forecast to run until October 31, and cover the deployment of DSLAMs in around 20 nodes, connecting a total of 400 premises.

NBN Co was given the go ahead to move to the Coalition's preferred multi-technology mix model for the NBN - which includes FTTN, FTTP, FTTB, hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable, fixed wireless and satellite - under its new statement of expectations, handed to NBN Co by NBN shareholder ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Matthias Cormann last month.

The new policy gives NBN Co the ability to choose which technologies are used in any given area on a case-by-case basis, given they don't exceed pre-defined cost terms.

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