NBN Co drops speed guarantees for FTTN service

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NBN Co drops speed guarantees for FTTN service

Updated: No responsibility taken for line speeds.

Australia's national broadband network will come with substantially lower speed guarantees than expected, as part of the Coalition mandated fibre-to-the-node redesign.

According to telco industry publication Commsday, a discussion paper outlining the FTTN product set reveals NBN Co will offer similar peak speed tiers of 50 and 100 megabit per second downloads, and 5, 10, 20 and 40 Mbps uploads as the former fibre-to-the-premises option.

However, users of the FTTN network will not receive speed guarantees beyond 25 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, the report states - similar to the maximum performance under ideal line conditions of today's ADSL2+ service.

Fibre customers hoping to receive the fast service they ordered may also end up being disappointed under NBN Co's proposals.

NBN Co reportedly said it will not take responsibility for individual line speeds, leaving the selection of the correct speed tier to end users and providers.

It will not prevent end users or providers from ordering up to 100 Mbps speed tiers for a service that would typically experience speeds of less than 50 Mbps, according to the report.

Some 30,000 roadside cabinets or nodes will need to be built and deployed for the NBN Co FTTN network. Each of these will serve 200 premises.

Last week, NBN shareholding ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Matthias Cormann officially recommended the transition from a mostly FTTP model to the Coalition's multi-mix technology.

As part of the findings of NBN Co's strategic review of December last year, the MTM network will include FTTN, FTTP, FTTB as well as the existing hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable technology along with fixed-wireless and satellite broadband.

Prepares TPG challenge

NBN Co this morning signalled an attack on the fibre-to-the-basement plans of competitor TPG, in an effort to mark its territory in reponse to the threat of emerging competition.

It announced a plan to bring forward its FTTB rollout in certain metropolitan areas in a "commercial response to emerging competition for high-value customers", in a rollout that could extend to 50,000 apartments,

TPG has already begun construction on plans announced last September to roll out fibre to the basements of an extra 500,000 apartments across metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

The plan mimicks the Coalition's FTTB efforts and has drawn criticism from NBN Co CEO Ziggy Switkowski, who said it had the potential to “severely impact" the NBN.

TPG is using a legal loophole in federal anti-cherry picking legislation in order to build its FTTB network alongside the NBN.

NBN Co will announce a list of priority areas in the coming weeks, which it said will likely include Haymarket in Sydney, New Farm and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, and South Melbourne. 

"A building that signs up to TPG runs the risk of being left with only one retail service provider – TPG itself," NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.

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