NBN Hits 100 Mbps-Plus with Less Costly Fiber-to-the-Curb Tech

Australian government-backed National Broadband Network (nbn) said it has achieved speeds of 109 Mbps downstream and 44 Mbps upstream using a less pricey fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) platform that uses VDSL technology.

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Nbn, which is building and operating a national wholesale broadband network that uses multiple types of access technologies including fiber-to-the-premises, HFC and fiber-to-the-node, said its first FTTC activation, part of trials in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne, hit those speeds using VDSL over a 70-meter copper line.

In certain circumstances, nbn is looking to a use an FTTC architecture that brings fiber to the property boundary, then connecting that fiber to a Distribution Point Unit that then links to the existing copper lines that serves the premises.

Nbn plans to launch commercial services using FTTC in the first half of next year, and eventually use the technology to serve an initial 1 million premises.

The company likewise estimates that the FTTC approach will cost about $2,900 per premises, compared to $4,400 per premises for FTTP.

“We believe FTTC will become another vital tool in the mix of technologies we’re using to deliver the nbn access network,” Bill Morrow, CEO of nbn, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, nbn said 3 million premises on its network had been activated, with another 3 million that are ready to connect.

"Of course, I understand why some people come out with glib catchphrases like, 'Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre,” Morrow noted in this blog post about nbn’s FTTC-facing work.  “If only it were as simple as that in the real world. Here are the plain facts. This network is not being delivered as a free gift – the government wants taxpayers to get their $49 billion back and expect a small return as well.”