Telstra has won a $150 million deal with NBN Co for the Government’s pilot of fibre-to-the-node technology in regional areas across Queensland and NSW.
Telstra will build around 1000 nodes in certain parts of the two states over the next year to serve around 200,000 homes and businesses.
The trial will target areas found to be underserved by the Government's broadband availability report - specifically Belmont, Bolaro, Gorokan, Hamilton, Morriset, Umina and Warner in New South Wales; and Bribie Island, Bundaberg, Caboolture and Gympie in Queensland.
Under the contract, Telstra will be responsible for planning, designing and building the fibre-to-the-node network. NBN Co will simultaneously work with retail service providers to finalise FTTN products.
The trial forms part of the Coalition’s attempts to move the NBN from a predominantly fibre-based network to its multi-technology mix.
NBN Co confirmed in February it was discussing renting access to the telco’s copper network in order to trial FTTN technology, in an agreement falling outside the existing $11 billion definitive agreements the pair are currently renegotiating.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the FTTN trial represented an "interim step" ahead of changes to the definitive agreements.
NBN Co has undertaken its own, smaller scale FTTN trial over the last few months, installing a number of nodes around the NSW central coast town of Umina, and Epping in Victoria.
Telstra CEO David Thodey said in a statement the pilot was an "important step" in NBN Co determining how a multi-technology rollout could change its deployment approach.