NBN relaunches HFC network

After remediating its HFC network, NBN will make 1,000 premises ready for retailers to sell at the end of April, followed by 38,000 in June and around 100,000 per month for the rest of the year.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has announced the relaunch of its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network as of April 27.

The network will be available for retailers to sell in stages, NBN said, starting with 1,000 HFC premises in Sydney and Melbourne. Around 38,000 HFC premises will be released by the end of June in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and the Gold Coast.

Around 100,000 premises per month will then be released in the HFC footprint to retail service providers (RSPs).

"We are pleased with the improvements seen from the additional work undertaken while sales have been paused on the HFC network," NBN CEO Bill Morrow -- who is departing the company by the end of the year -- said on Tuesday.

"We expect to see an uplift in customer experience as a result of these improvements."

According to NBN, it has "undertaken considerable work" on its HFC technology to ensure improvements across both stability and performance, with this work to continue during the staged release.

The announcement follows Australian Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Monday saying NBN will be putting its foot "back on the accelerator" following its pause in selling HFC services, with the government and NBN positive the HFC pause will lead to improved migration and service experiences for customers.

"We are confident that when the NBN pause is over and we hit the restart button, the HFC optimisation will deliver a great experience," the minister said during the CommsDay Summit in Sydney.

"It will make for a much smoother migration for the remainder of that footprint. Importantly, the pause has allowed more infill lead-ins to be built, which will ultimately make the connection process less complicated."

Speaking to ZDNet over the weekend, NBN's chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan had said the company is "very happy with some of the earlier results we're seeing out of the areas that we have remediated" in the HFC footprint.

"I can tell you that we remain on course to start to release new footprint back into the market, in that average six- to nine-month time period, which puts it in the back half of this year," Ryan said on Sunday in an interview with ZDNet during the launch of its fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) network.

"We hope to start testing our new processes around about the middle of this year as we seek to relaunch a little bit of footprint as part of a business test in the May-June period."

NBN has also announced moving 440,000 fibre-to-the-node and HFC premises to its FttC footprint.

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