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NBN says 1.3 percent of FttN lines sit below 25Mbps after co-existence ends

The company has also revealed that it has purchased 27,600 kilometres of copper cable.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) company has said that as of November 9, 1.3 percent of fibre-to-the-node (FttN) premises are incapable of hitting its mandated minimum speed of 25/5Mbps once the co-existence period ends.

Co-existence is the 18-month transition period where FttN speeds are dialled down to continue allowing legacy services, such as ADSL, to operate. During that time, only 12Mbps is guaranteed for FttN connections.

NBN added that it provides retailers with weekly speed reports that show actual and attainable speeds.

"For FttN, VDSL line rate information is also available in NBN Co's test and diagnostics provided to the RSPs," the company said in response to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice.

"Once co-existence has ended for a service, NBN Co will accept service incidents where a service operates below 25/5Mbps, noting that the cause of under-performance may be internal wiring or other conditions which are out of NBN Co's control."

The last co-existence periods are set to end on June 30, 2022.

"As we're upgrading the copper to be capable of faster speeds, we have to take steps to ensure the change in frequencies doesn't cause interference between the ADSL and VDSL services," an NBN spokesperson said in June 2015.

"Hence taking a cautious approach with our customers, the retail telecommunications companies, and guaranteeing the delivery of 12Mbps/1Mbps."

NBN also said that as of November 11, it had purchased 27,600 kilometres of copper cable, which it said was typically used to connect existing pillars and new nodes.

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

For fixed-wireless, NBN revealed that at the end of October, 0.22 percent of premises on the wireless technology were getting less than 3Mbps during busy periods, with 4 percent receiving between 3Mbps and 6Mpbs; 20 percent between 6Mbps and 12Mbps during busy periods; and 34 percent getting download speeds between 12Mbps and 25Mbps.

The company also said that 47,600 FttC premises were unserviceable, which represented 22 percent of the technology's footprint. For fibre-to-the-premises (FttP), only 0.2 percent were unserviceable, and 2.2 percent of the FttN footprint was unserviceable.

The hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) footprint had 58 percent of its premises unserviceable due to the HFC pause announced in November last year.

The pause caused NBN base case funding to jump to AU$51 billion due to a AU$700 million drop in lifetime revenue and AU$200 increase in capital spending.

In November 2017, Telstra said the pause would hit its earnings to the tune of AU$600 million.

Earlier this week, NBN unveiled its business pricing bundles.

The bundles include speeds of 50/20Mbps for small businesses; speeds of 100/40Mbps for medium-sized businesses, as well as support for several phone lines; and either symmetrical and committed speeds of 20/20Mbps and 100/40Mbps peak rate, or symmetrical committed speeds of 50/50Mbps and 250/100Mbps peak rate for "data-intensive and multi-site organisations".

"Each of the discount bundles will include a minimum 12-hour enhanced service level agreement with 24/7 support between NBN Co and retailer as well as bandwidth which incrementally increases with higher bundles," NBN said.

"To help increase service continuity and reduce interruption for businesses, selected wholesale discount bundles will also include the option to install a subsequent line to test critical applications before connecting."

Speaking to Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network last week, the Department of Communications said business plan uptake would drive towards NBN's monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) target of AU$51.

"NBN's approach and offering of services into the business market is beginning to accelerate now, so the ARPU growth predicted a significant component of that will be business revenue coming onstream," Richard Windeyer, Acting Deputy Secretary of Infrastructure and Consumer Group at the Department of Communications and the Arts said.

"In some parts of the business market and in some geographies, the NBN is the first significant alternative to a market that was otherwise dominated by Telstra connections. So NBN is providing competition in the provision of business-grade services in some geographies that previously might only have been served by Telstra."

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