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NBN aiming to close temporary POIs by year end

Government-owned broadband wholesaler needs to have 65,000 services moved to decommission early points of interconnect.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The company responsible for deploying the National Broadband Network across Australia has announced it is able to shift its access network across to permanent points of interconnect (POI).

NBN has given retailers nine months to complete the transfer of services off of temporary POIs, with around 65,000 services remaining to be shifted, after 210,000 services in mostly greenfield areas used 108 temporary POIs.

"As the first release sites were built, NBN Co focused on building the local network and took advantage of existing infrastructure available from third-party providers to get those services back to phone and internet providers in the capital cities," said David Lannan, executive manager of Business Service Design.

NBN has 121 points of interconnect, after the ACCC decided in 2010 NBN should use a semi-distributed approach to its infrastructure.

Then Internode founder and three years later NBN board member Simon Hackett said at the time that the high number of interconnects would create higher costs across the industry -- since retailers need to deploy their own backhaul to each POI before NBN allow them to sell services in an area -- and benefit the likes of Telstra.

"At a deep level, it seems like the 120 POIs model is a bit of an artificial construct, keeping an existing backhaul market supported, to an extent, in the new world order," he said.

"This large number of POIs will drive the industry toward having a smaller number of bigger players, rather than a larger number of smaller players, as the overheads of operating and ramping up in 120 POIs will be too much for very small players to afford."

Speaking in a blog post, NBN said providers have "plenty of time" to make the switchover work.

"There is a minor outage overnight when we physically transfer the network across, but NBN Co performs this work in the dead of night in prearranged outage windows to reduce impact to end users," Lannan said.

"Phone and internet providers manage their own migrations, which is a pure software change and should happen seamlessly."

NBN is set to reveal new wholesale pricing later this month, as the company attempts to up the amount of bandwidth per user on the network.

"Three months ago, we had less than one in 15 users connected to our 'sweet spot' wholesale 50Mbps plans. Today, we have more than one in four signed up to them for better value than what they would have previously been paying," NBN chief customer officer of Residential Brad Whitcomb said a month ago.

The company last month also replaced 440,000 premises set to receive FttN and HFC connections with FttC, bringing the curb-based footprint to around 1.5 million premises in total.

NBN laid out its plan to recommence the signing up of customers to its HFC network, beginning with 1,000 HFC premises in Sydney and Melbourne, followed by 38,000 HFC premises released by the end of June in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and the Gold Coast.

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