NBN Co's HFC freeze hits more than 500,000 homes

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NBN Co's HFC freeze hits more than 500,000 homes

Number of premises unable to connect skyrockets.

NBN Co's decision to freeze the rollout of its HFC network to improve the underlying infrastructure has meant more than 500,000 premises are no longer able to order services.

Late last month the network builder revealed it would temporarily pause all new orders on the HFC network and delay go-live for some premises while it worked to raise the quality of service for end users.

It said the move would result in delays in the rollout timing for HFC areas of between six and nine months.

However, it did not put a figure on how many end users would be impacted by the freeze.

Its latest weekly rollout progress report [pdf] reveals more than 500,000 premises that had previously been labelled 'ready to connect' - or able to order retail services - can no longer do so.

As of the week ended December 14, around 518,000 brownfield premises had been moved out from the 'ready to connect' list. The tally now sits at just under 4.6 million.

As a result the number of 'not yet ready' to connect brownsfield premises skyrocketed from 387,310 just a week earlier to 971,120 as at the end of last week - a jump of 583,810 premises.

The change has brought the total number of premises able to connect to the NBN - across fixed, wireless, and satellite - down from 6.5 million premises to 6 million.

The decline in ready to connect premises had been expected given the suspension of HFC orders, which kicked in on December 11.

NBN Co said the re-categorised premises would be moved back into the 'ready to connect' list "in around six to nine months".

It has previously said it does not expect the halt to stop it from meeting its target of connecting all premises by 2020.

The network builder is initially focusing on improving services for the 370,000 users already connected to HFC, before it works through a backlog of activations and then resumes the remaining portion of the HFC rollout.

The HFC network contains the largest number of unserviceable connections of all fixed-line technologies in the NBN rollout.

The freeze on HFC will result in a $50 million hit to NBN Co's revenue over the next six months, and could potentially reach as high as $500 million in delayed earnings.

Telstra has similarly said it expects to take a $700 million hit to its income for the 2018 financial year as a result of the decison.

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