NBN Co will start piloting services on hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable towards the end of next year ahead of plans to release the product to wholesale partners in the first quarter of 2016.
In its latest product roadmap, released today [pdf], the national network builder outlined its plans for the HFC network now that it has signed new definitive agreements with Optus and Telstra for the cable.
The trio on Sunday announced the signing of renegotiated agreements in which NBN Co will use Telstra and Optus HFC as part of the national broadband network where it sees fit.
The new contracts have allowed NBN Co to detail its plans for the HFC network. Customer pilots on HFC will commence on November 30 next year, NBN Co said, and it expects to release commercial services in the first quarter of 2016.
"The recently revised definitive agreements between Telstra and NBN Co allows for the incorporation of existing networks in parts of the country where it represents the fastest and most cost effective way to deliver the NBN," NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon said in a statement.
The company is still expecting to keep to its previous deadlines for fibre-to-the-node and fibre-to-the-basement commercial services.
It will start business readiness testing for FTTN deployments in the second quarter of 2015, and will begin onboarding retail service providers (RSPs) at the same time. It expects to make a commercial product available in Q2 of next year.
For FTTB, NBN Co will start business readiness testing and RSP onboarding next month, ahead of a March product release.
Simon said the company currently had 45 end-users involved in the inner-city Melbourne FTTB pilot, who were reporting peak average download speeds of 89 Mbps and average upload speeds of 36 Mbps.
RSPs will also receive revised product pricing in February next year, in which NBN Co will cut the cost of the connectivity virtual circuit charge by 12.5 percent.
The CVC charge secures a customer’s bandwidth from the point of interconnect, and is levied on top of the standard access charge NBN wholesale providers are required to pay. It is currently set at $20 per month/Mbps - a fee retail service providers have criticised as too high.