NBN Co trials HFC, promises upgrade to fibre speeds

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NBN Co trials HFC, promises upgrade to fibre speeds

Cable technology upgrade planned for 2017.

NBN Co will upgrade the hybrid coaxial-fibre (HFC) cable networks it bought from Telstra and Optus to a new high-speed technology standard that can deliver fibre-like speeds.

As flagged in February this year, NBN Co said it would upgrade the networks to the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 3.1 (DOCSIS 3.1),which the company said can deliver up to 50 percent more data than is possible over current cable networks.

DOCSIS 3.1 is capable of delivering up to 10 gigabit per second downloads, and one gigabit per second uploads, NBN Co said.

The technology upgrade - to commence in 2017 - will cover over three million residential and business premises in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

NBN Co signed a $400 million deal with Arris Group last month to upgrade the Telstra and Optus HFC networks to a consistent standard.

New DOCSIS 3.1 compatible cable modems will be deployed by the end of the year and throughout 2016, ahead of the headend upgrade to the faster technology standard in 2017.

Trialling HFC

The company also announced it would start HFC construction trials to work out how to deploy the upgraded cable network at scale.

Around 3000 homes that are passed by the HFC network but currently do not have a connection - in three Queensland suburbs and one in New South Wales - have been selected for the trial. 

An NBN Co spokesperson told iTnews that besides learning more about construction and deployment issues, the company would be looking at optimising the networks for better end-user performance through techniques such as segmentation.

The trials will start progressively from midway through this year, ahead of the large-scale integration of HFC technology into the network from 2016.

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