NBN Co still working on battery issues

Summary:The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has been quick to defend its hardware following questions about how basic telephone services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) may be affected if mains power is cut.

The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has been quick to defend its hardware following questions about how basic telephone services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) may be affected if mains power is cut.

In its business plan released late last year, NBN Co detailed plans for batteries to be installed in all network termination units (NTUs) which could supplement power to the passive fibre connection for up to five hours after a power outage. This means that people are able to use their basic telephone services as they would on the copper network while the battery has power, but if it dies, services cease.

NBN Co told ZDNet Australia that it hasn't yet engaged with relevant parties to determine the best way to execute a battery for network termination units for the NBN.

"The government has indicated it will consult with stakeholders including emergency services on the provision of battery backup services for those who need them. This consultation has yet to commence before NBN Co releases its final detail of battery performance," it said in a statement.

The company did say, however, that it had come up with several strategies prior to the consultation phase itself, including an automatic power conservation feature that would be activated in the event of a long-term outage.

"NBN Co is investigating an option such that when the battery power runs down to 25 per cent, power is automatically cut-off. This 25 per cent reserve would then be manually activated to enable the conserved power to be used for emergency calls beyond the five-hour period."

According to the company, natural disaster scenarios such as floods had already been considered by NBN Co when considering the design of its network.

"Fibre to the premise is an extremely reliable network architecture and fibre itself is the safest and most reliable of the current technology options to withstand flood events, as there are no electrical currents flowing through a fibre network and little or no impact on fibre following water submersion," it said.

"Where NBN Co rolls out its network in flood prone areas, NBN Co will be encouraging residents to have NTU's installed at the highest practical location on a dwelling. An NTU can be located so that at the point an NTU is submerged by water all residents should have left the premises."

Topics: NBN, Broadband

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A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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