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Full fibre the least faulty NBN technology

Fibre-to-the-node and HFC lead the way in complaints for year to July 2018.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

An NBN FttN node getting a Nokia line card installed

(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

Fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) is the least faulty technology in NBN's arsenal, according to figures disclosed by the company.

Responding to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice, the company responsible for the National Broadband Network (NBN) broke down its 409,821 faults lodged in fiscal year 17-18 by technology.

In absolute terms, fibre-to-the-node (FttN) led the way with 216,000 faults, followed by HFC with 84,300, and FttP with 75,000. NBN's most recently launched technology choice, fibre-to-the-curb (FttC), had only 81 faults, while fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) had 6,800 faults lodged, satellite had 6,000, and fixed wireless had 21,000.

When translated to faults per 100 active premises, the technology in the order of most faults to least are: HFC, FttC, FttN, fixed wireless, FttB, satellite, and FttP.

NBN noted the period covered its HFC pause, where sales on the network were stopped while it was remediated, and since its relaunch, faults have occurred at a rate of 1.4 faults per active premises, which would place it between FttC on 1.6 and FttN on 1.2.

Overall, the fault rate for fiscal year 17-18 sat at 1 fault per 100 active premises per month, while for 16-17 the rate was 0.89, and from July 2018 to the end of February the overall fault rate was 0.91.

Custom remediation means 90% chance of NBN resolving your issue in 2 years

If you feel you are in a bad place with your connection to the NBN, spare a thought for the unlucky people on NBN Co's custom remediation list.

According to the company, custom remediation is used for premises that need to have long cable runs replaced, involve construction work, or need to be redesigned to move to another technology.

"NBN Co aims to resolve 90 percent of cases within 2 years of opening. This timeframe allows NBN Co to conduct detailed investigation, and custom design and build works on a case-by-case basis to remediate premises," the company said in response to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice.

NBN added it had 713 custom remediation cases awaiting resolution, and had completed 10 cases.

In another question, NBN said around 7.6% of its FttN services were unable to reach the mandated 25Mbps minimum speeds, however some lines were in the coexistence period where FttN connections ran slower due to needing to continue support for legacy services over copper, such as ADSL, during an 18-month migration window.

"The actual experience of customers using the network, can be impacted by other factors such as their in-home set-up and equipment," NBN said.

"Where the network is not capable of providing the minimum wholesale download speeds after co-existence has ended, NBN will take action to rectify any issues in its network so that minimum standards are met."

Previously the company said in August 2017 that 6% of FttN connections could not reach 25Mbps.

NBN added it was running speed assurance trails for FttN connections that were deemed at risk of not hitting 25Mbps, with the broadband wholesaler saying that if a line suffered a 20% drop in downstream or upstream performance, then the retailer could log a fault for NBN to investigate.

Earlier this week, the NBN disclosed it had almost doubled the total amount of copper it has purchased since October 22, 2017.

As at 19 February 2019, NBN Co has purchased 29,460km of copper cable, which has typically been used for the link between existing pillars and new nodes.", the company said in response to a Senate Estimates Questions on Notice published this week.

"A significant proportion of this figure is also due to FTTC network construction for short extensions of copper lead-in cables to the FTTC DPU location."

The company also revealed that less than half of the premises in its fixed wireless areas had taken up such services, and fibre-to-the-node (FttN) uptake was tracking lower than the company needed to meet its financial goals.

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