NBN Co to rent Telstra copper for fibre-to-the-node trial

NBN Co to rent Telstra copper for fibre-to-the-node trial

Summary: NBN Co has confirmed that it will rent Telstra's copper lines as part of a trial of fibre-to-the-node technology.


NBN Co chief operations officer Greg Adcock has said that NBN Co will likely rent copper lines from Telstra as the company trials fibre to the node ahead of a wider rollout of the technology.

In NBN Co's first half-year results meeting held in Sydney today, the company revealed that there would be a fibre-to-the-node pilot in Umina, near Woy Woy, on the New South Wales central coast, and in Epping in Melbourne's north. For the pilot, NBN Co will build two small-scaled copper serving area modules with kerbside nodes connecting to spare copper pairs in a Telstra pillar.

Each trial site will serve up to 100 premises as part of the trial, NBN Co said.

To get access to the copper, NBN Co is negotiating a separate agreement outside of the existing AU$11 billion Telstra agreement to lease the copper lines from Telstra until the existing agreement with the telco can be renegotiated. NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski said it is important that the whole deal be renegotiated, rather than just negotiated in parts, such as only access to the copper network, or use of the cable network.

"At this stage, there feels like there are a lot of interlinked issues. We are not designing the negotiations to compartmentalise that."

Adcock said that the aim for the trial would be to get higher speeds on fibre to the node than what was projected in the strategic review.

"Clearly, we would want to better than 50Mbps."

NBN Co will also be conducting a fibre-to-the-basement trial in office blocks and apartment complexes in Carlton, Brunswick, and Parkville in Melbourne. NBN Co chief technology officer Greg McLaren said the trial involves 10 buildings and five internet service providers. iiNet told ZDNet earlier this week that it has 15 customers taking part in the trial.

In NBN Co's half-year results for the six months to the end of December 2013, it reported a 63 percent increase in revenue to AU$47.8 million, with telecommunications revenue up fourfold. NBN Co reported an operating loss of AU$715 million for the half, with capital expenditure up AU$396 million for the half to AU$1.19 billion.

Average revenue per user for the half was AU$36.50

NBN Co ended the year passing 4,500 premises by fibre per week on average. Adcock said that at the end of this year, NBN Co will be passing 6,000 premises per week. Switkowski rejected suggestions that the fibre rollout is slowing down.

"We go as hard and as fast as we can until such time as we need to talk about it," he said.

Topics: NBN, Government AU, 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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  • Debacle

    Great, we're paying Australia's major ISP rental for copper the Australian public used to own, while the $11b agreement Malcolm said would be quickly renegotiated is still hanging over our heads, to trial a technology far inferior and will again tie us in to Telstra for the next decade at least.

    Status quo. Nothing will change. Australia's telecommunications will slide further into the ice age as the rest of the world progresses.

    I especially spit out my coffee over the "will build two small-scaled copper serving area modules with kerbside nodes connecting to spare copper pairs".

    Spare copper pairs???

    In the majority of areas I deal with there's not enough pairs for normal voice operation, having been treated to pair gain and RIM systems in an effort to cut costs.

    Good luck with any of this when you get to real-life situations with real-life copper network infrastructure. Telstra is going to have to put more copper into the ground to even make any of this work.

    Wonder who will foot the bill on that one?

    The original NBNCo plan would have separated us from relying on the Telstra monopoly. Then the $11b agreement was reached, and we did have some Telstra involvement, but for the sake of getting the fibre in, I was willing to concede. Malcolm wants us all now to be Telstra's monkeys yet again.

    Way to take us back to the sad reality of what happened with the privatization of Telstra. Be proud of your work.
  • Do you want to have the NBN via 'Fiber To The Home'

    The fttn will never work adequately as it has limitations yet we consumers will be expected to suffer its inadequacies mutely by the LNP.
    If you want the real deal FTTH vote Labor at the next federal election.
  • Rigged trials more likely

    Going by Turnbull's previous lies as to the costs of both Labor's FTTP (over exaggerated)and Turnbull's FTTN (under exaggerated) he seems to pluck figures out of thin air to legitimise his claims.
    These trial results will also be fudged and you can count on Telstra to have renewed or already have knowledge that the condition of the copper wires in the trial locations are in top condition. It's all just another con for Fraudband.
  • I thought Malcolm said it'd be free?

    Wasn't he saying they'd be able to use the copper 'at no extra cost' before the election? Seriously LNP, get your game together, you've stuck to pretty well nothing you said pre-election...