First NBN fibre to the node customer connected

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.

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.