NBN confirms HFC pause is back due to chipset supply chain constraints

Anyone looking to connect a new HFC line will need to get in by 7pm on Tuesday, February 2.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: NBN

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has confirmed reports in Commsday that it will pause connecting new customers on its HFC cable network.

In a notice sent to retailers on Monday morning, NBN said it would not be connecting any new HFC premises entered into its systems after 7pm on Tuesday.

Vulnerable customers would continue to be connected, and in a notice, NBN said customers moving into a premise already with NBN over HFC would be fine, as would those needing repairs and replacements on existing equipment.

"Our current intention is to continue enabling orders to be placed for premises that will be reconnecting to the NBN HFC network (i.e. if the previous occupier of the premises had been connected to the NBN network before moving)," it said.

"However, if your premises is connecting to the NBN network for the first time and we don't have an order in our system before 2 February 2021, the order will not be able to be placed."

The source of the pause is a lack of chipsets for its HFC network termination devices, which was pinned on the coronavirus pandemic. Last week NBN was notified the supply chain shortages would "continue for several months".

NBN is far from the only company in the world suffering such constraints, with AMD saying last week the low end of the market would be squeezed with shortages in wafer supply.

"We have been monitoring this issue for several months since we first became aware the global shortage of chipsets affecting various industries, including telecommunications. As a result, we have been working closely with our supplier to build up our HFC equipment inventories in our warehouses as much as possible," NBN chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said.

"We apologise to new customers that may be affected by this global supply chain issue and the anticipated delays. While this issue only affects a small number of potential customers that we anticipated would connect to NBN via HFC, relative to the large number of customers already on HFC, and indeed the entire NBN network, we appreciate that for those impacted this is frustrating."

NBN said it would be notifying customers on its social channels soon, however at the time of writing, customers would only be alerted to the situation via a short message when plugging their address into the NBN address connection checker.

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