Melbourne NBN fibre to the node trial stalled on power deal

As Telstra begins planning and design work for a fibre to the node trial in New South Wales and Queensland, the Victorian trial remains stalled.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

A trial of fibre to the node technology in Melbourne remains stalled, despite Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing NBN Co and Telstra had signed a deal for 206,000 premises across regional Queensland and New South Wales to be connected to the NBN by fibre to the node.

As part of the shift to the multi-technology mix model proposed by the new Coalition government, NBN Co first announced its fibre-to-the-node pilot in February, with the company planning on accessing Telstra's spare copper pairs in Umina in New South Wales, and Epping in Victoria serving up to 100 premises each in a trial that was set to commence at the start of May, and run until the end of October.

Yesterday, Turnbull announced that NBN Co and Telstra had entered an agreement that will see the incumbent telco design and construct a fibre to the node trial out to 1,000 nodes and 206,0000 premises across 11 regional towns in Queensland and New South Wales.

Umina was included in the wide-scale trial, but the trial in Epping has still yet to start.

In Senate Estimates last month, NBN Co chief operations officer Greg Adcock explained that a delay in the Epping trial was due to power supply issues for the nodes.

"The Epping trial in Victoria has slowed down a bit, while we work with the utility there to find a power solution. We're working through that," he said.

Close to a month later, a spokesperson for NBN Co told ZDNet that discussions with a utility in Victoria to gain sufficient power supply for the nodes were still "ongoing" with no timeline provided for where the trial will commence.

In the other locations, Telstra taking on the design and construction will see the 206,000 premises passed by fibre to the node in 12 months, Turnbull told ZDNet.

"Working with the incumbent telco to build the network isn't revolutionary. It's happening in just about every other market," he said.

"We just want to get the thing built. That's the bottom line — with Telstra you're going to get it built a lot sooner."

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