First NBN fibre to the node customer connected

First NBN fibre to the node customer connected

Summary: The first customer connected to the NBN via fibre to the node has been hooked up with Telstra in Umina, on the New South Wales central coast.

TOPICS: NBN, Australia

NBN Co's first retail customer connected via fibre to the node has been able to get an average download speed of 98Mbps over Telstra's copper lines.

(Image: Alcatel-Lucent)

The customer, Martin McInnes, a small business owner in Umina, on the central coast of New South Wales, is the first of several customers to be connected via fibre to the node in NBN Co's first trial of the technology that was first announced 6 months ago and was supposed to run from May until October.

The trial will see NBN Co run fibre out to an Alcatel Lucent node, then use existing copper lines from the node to a street pillar, and then copper from the street pillar to each premises.

NBN Co is using spare copper pairs for the trial, allowing users to continue to run their existing ADSL connections along side their NBN connections until a new deal with Telstra has been reached to allow customers to migrate to FttN using the existing copper lines.

ZDNet understands that McInnes was able to achieve a download speed of 98Mbps down, and upload speeds of 33Mbps over a copper line of 190 metres through Telstra as the retail service provider. NBN Co clarified to ZDNet that these average results were taken over a period of one week.

McInnes is the customer closest to the node of the four currently trialling, but Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull provided a number of speed test results from a number of locations, with a customer located 515 metres from the node able to get 97Mbps down, and 30Mbps up.

The trial was using VDSL and vectoring.

NBN Co did not explain today why it took an additional three months for the trial to commence. The company's other trial in Epping in Victoria was still in the "development" stage, with NBN Co unable to confirm to ZDNet whether issues over accessing electricity to power the nodes in the trial had been resolved.

The company today announced it would also expand its own construction of fibre to the node in addition to Telstra's own 1,000-node trial. It will cover 300 more nodes in Woy Woy, NSW and Warner in Queensland covering 45,000 premises. This means that the total number of premises covered by current FttN trials now sits at 240,000 premises.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement that the expanded trial will allow NBN Co to test out different technology and work out the best method of moving to the "multi-technology mix" model of the NBN.

"Our plans to build more than 300 additional nodes on top of our construction trial with Telstra will see us benchmark industry best practices as we gear up for wide-scale deployment of the FttN technology," he said in a statement.

Topics: NBN, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Power Supplies

    I think its extremely important and relevant for the government to come clean on exactly what the total power usage for FTN is going to be and how it will impact on our capacity to supply that need, whereas FTTH requires no power supply for its distribution cabinets. The current and projected costs of this power supply also have to be detailed. Time to get to it Malcolm and enlighten us all on this potential white elephant. As for the test site at Umina you can bet that it was only selected after a thorough search for the best sets of copper pairs to be had, yes you can achieve high speeds through copper but only for short distances because of attenuation which is why ADSL2+ is such a dogs dinner.
  • average is more important. peak means almost nothing

    I am focused on average speed, not peak and how it will handle when a node is full of users
    • Good questions on being full

      Vectoring is pretty irrelovant with 4 users. It's primary strength is to reduce crosstalk interference and maintain speed once there are a lot of people using the service. The figures I've seen would suggest it'd do a pretty good job on the shorter runs. The 515m run, not so much, that's some bit of copper that guy has, he is getting theoretical max attainable usually only on thicker copper than AU uses by default. It'd be nice to know what guage copper he is on.
      • So a it sus

        Well telstra has been reported been seen in pits working in the areas where they are trialling the FTTN
      • I'm calling BS on that

        97mbps down and 30mbps up at over 500m? Yea right, there's no way that's a sustainable figure. That's like me performance testing a network and telling a client it can do 800mB/s because the analysis software hits a write cache spike for a fraction of a second (writing from memory to memory between devices, such spikes are common and you simply ignore them because a gigabit network can't actually transfer at anything like that rate, it is a software aberration and should be excluded).

        Sadly the same level off scientific transparency cannot be applied to political statements like this, just one more reason politicians should be limited by law from even commenting in an engineering project like this.

        If it can't be qualified, tested and readily reproduced by other scientists, it is not science and is not a fact; it is an unqualified claim (and where you have an extraordinary claim such as this, you require extraordinary evidence to prove it).
        • that ole game

          hahah 1 user - i think Turnbull needs to hire out a American aircraft carrier for a big party and have a banner reading "FTTN validated"

          meanwhile there are millions of people with shitty gauge runs filled to the brim with bridge taps, batteries and other crap.

          The trial will be cooked. When they encounter a EU on a shitty line run they'll replace it and then run their tests (using ICMP which tells you nothing about real world).

          iiNet's ADSL heatmap proves that Australia has crappy copper. People who should be getting good sync rates, but aren't are already visible on this map.

          Worse what is the NBN going to do. Re do the cable runs? I spent years lodging ULL and SSS faults and its clear that monoloptistic companies like Telstra and NBN (run by the quintessential Telstra guy, Ziggy) will be about bullshit numbers. They'll drag it out and call it a CNS and never do anything about it.

          It'll get worse once NBN is privatised.

          It'll be; oh yes we rectified 99% of all line faults in 12 hours if you mean we closed the tickets with bulk close scripts that do bullshit line tests, report n/a results and then close the ticket off before it breaches SLA.

          For those RSPs who lodged multiple faults we'll force em to run cable sharks at great expense to validate the fault (when its bleeding obvious to everyone).

          And then per above raise it as a CNS and take years to rectify it. and that's if the customer is getting under 20mbps or whatever bullshit min sync rate they get. If your getting something just over the threshold you'll be told to go away.
          • Yea never seen coverage of that

            Yea chugs, on Whirlpool and OCAU I've seen numerous threads where heaps of people have chimed in with reports of Telstra techs submitting paperwork with 'no fault found' despite them physically repairing a fault (such as changing to a new pair). Never seen a story on that topic so it's easy to dismiss as merely the anecdotal complaining of Internet denizens.

            That's the inescapable fact of privatisation that conservatives seem to ignore - a privatised public service will always reduce service levels to the bare minimum to maximise profits while increasing prices to what the market will bear, because that's how you maximise shareholder profit. They will also happily rig their service records if they can foreseeably get away with it, because why not? No one can do anything about it, and according to their regulatory obligations they are meeting service level targets. It doesn't matter that reality is so divorced from their story, the government failed to create a sufficiently robust regulatory environment with adequate oversight to be able to meaningfully audit their behaviour.

            Thanks very much, pea brained right wing Conservative morons lacking the foresight to comprehend (or consider or even care about) the mess you created (are creating) and I include every one of you that voted LNP in the last 20 years, not just the self interested politicians.
  • Public testing

    It would be great to test some of these lines independently, then say compare them to NZ FTTN results. test on volunteers connections in both countries, publishing regularly.
  • No choice ...

    So we are stuck with a big monopoly that will tell us what we can and can't get. Much rather install FttH in our neighbourhood - but labour and their crony Turnbull have determined that only NBN Co can wire up our neighbourhood. So much for change.
  • 515 metres from the node able to get 97Mbps down, and 30Mbps up

    Sounds great for right now. Lets hope that the other 10 million connections are as good as these 4.

    BTW what the upgrade path to gbit and beyond?
    Paul Krueger
    • Gb? Nope.

      Upgrade path to gigabit? Currently non-existent which is partly why many people argue that FttN is not an acceptable choice over FttH, and rightly so.

      Unless there are some very substantial improvements to copper fixed-line that defy the laws of physics sometime in the near future, we will not be seeing speeds any faster than the ones advertised by this report, and that's most likely in a cherry-picked location for the most suitable copper.
      • Gigabit speeds

        Gigabit fibre connections are a reality here and now, but we don't need it.
        We can drive our artwork to the printer and when he wants to send a proof it will come via parcel post in 3-4 days. This is how Australia will lead the world into the 22nd Century.
        I will not be laughing when the FTTN ends up a white elephant and gets ripped up and replaced by fibre at a much higher price than it would have been if it was done right the first time.
        Imagine if the coalition cut back Labours' Harbour bridge project, and it only had 2 lanes?
    • Upgrade to Gb is not relevant. FttP GPON doesn't have it either.

      There is no gigabit speed happening on the FttP GPON either.
      GPON is limited to 2.488 gigabits down and 1.244 up shared between up to 64 customers.

      If you want Gigabit FttP that isn't GPON, you can already get it from any number of carriers if you have the $$$$.
  • Malcolm is doing what Conroy never could or would have done.

    For years I went on about this on multiple vanishing recurring posts.

    Now it's all coming out in the wash.

    Various MP's used the NBN as the big sell point in the election.

    When really it was false and misleading the public into thinking they would have something before any real thought had been put into the matter.

    Poor Malcolm has had to fix this mess do some wheely deals with spectrum chunks to make sure the telcos gear is happy as is the community.

    NBN FTTH was only projected at the time of Conroys offensive on the public senses to be rolled out for "green fields" not brown fields which is where most of the Telco territory already monopolised by all in question.

    Fixed wireless was nothing more than an after thought.

    Some would argue it was clever to hold back as technology wasn't quite up to pace as is it is now and ROI is far higher than before.

    The funny thing is they say that like the NBN ye LTE is meant to revolutionise all things wireless and data crossing the digital divide bla bla bla sound familiar?

    Why it's the same mantra that comes from the makers of such marvellous things.

    Private LTE tower owners will be able to waffle waffle and a toasted cheese sandwich thanks.

    Cost ! Cost pfft Malcolm just tell Joe it's for the country and expanding the commonwealth.

    File the NBN as a tax write off.

    Oh and isn't it lovely how you can have ULL on twisted pair?

    But NBN forces you to waste bandwidth on a VOIP provider of some description.

    For the money they want it's just easier to team up and get 100 symmetrical.

    $300 per month unlimited aprox on eastern seaboard.
    • so confused

      can't tell if you are pro liberal or not, which is it?

      whats that about LTE? touch irrelevant, everyone knows wireless is not for bulk data :)

      and the NBN doesn't force you to have VoIP, you don't need to have a VoIP service to get NBN, so I don't know what that tangent is about. Mixing it up with needing a telephone service to get ADSL with Telstra perhaps?

      I have no idea what money you talk about and I'm not sure what you'd team up to get what exactly in your mind, when plans currently do 100/40.

      I'm sure unlimited NBN plans exist, with contended ratios to suit. I'm happy with my 100/40 with unlimited upload, the ability to sync whatever you want is nice
      • NBN Unlimited Plans

        Yes, a few unlimited plans exist,
  • Turnbull isnt fixing the mess he is creating more

    His "fully Cost Plan of $29b" FAILED Blow out to $41b in just 3 months.
    "Everyone to get 25Mbps by 2016" FAILED In just 3 months they are behind schedule by 3 years to 2019.

    While most countries are moving from FTTN to FTTP we are moving backwards only because its "Cheaper" but not better value for money.
    MTM 25Mbps to all for $41b that 1.6b per Mb in speed
    FTTP 1000Mbps to all for $72b that only $72M per Mb in speed
  • Great stuff

    Excellent. And if this node works well, they might install another by the end of the year. Eventually by 2095 we may have 50% of the country covered.