Although there were concerns that NBN Co’s move to take Telstra’s and Optus’ HFC (Hybrid Fibre-Coxial) cable netwoks would result in slower speeds, especially when it comes to uploads, Arris’ (US telco equipment manufacturing company) Chief Technology Officer in the Asia Pacific, Joshua Eum, remains confident.
On Tuesday, Eum said at the CommsDay NBN Rebooted event held in Sydney, that NBN Co’s multi-technology mix (MTM) scheme has given HFC a “new lease of life.”
He mentioned that the problem with the HFC network is that it was idly running for years, and there were no investments coming into the network itself. Instead, it went to the DSL and FTTN technologies.
“So when you look at where HFC network was, basically from zero it was going to be overbuilt by fibre to the home, and essentially, the network was going to be cut off. Now, we’re in a situation where possibly up to one third of the Australian houses could be connected to the HFC network,” he said.
According to ZDNet’s obtained documentation in August, NBN Co has plans of offering out to 30 percent of the population, the exact layer 2 wholesale service on the networks of HFC – same as what is offered under the proposal to users on the fibre network .
At the time, John Simon, NBN Co’s product development and sales head, told ZDNet that HFC networks will be upgraded across the board as part of the takeover. It would likewise install lead-ins for premises included in the HFC footprint and those that are unable to connect to services. Setup reconfiguration on the cable will also be commenced as the transition of customers of Telstra and Optus off the cables and the transition of NBN customers onto the cables gets underway.
Success stories from other countries serve as proof of HFC’s ability to deliver fast speeds in comparison with FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises), Eum said. Some examples include Comcast, which utilises HFC networks to deliver broadband with speeds of 150 Mbps, to some 60 percent of North Americans. The Netherlands also has Zyggo, which offers broadband at 200Mbps. In Korea and Japan, operators offer broadband with speeds of 300Mbps, with 500Mbps and 1GBps ready for deployment.
Cisco engineer Gerry White stated that he supports NBN Co’s HFC network plans, and is anticipating the enhanced running speeds, decreased per gigabits cost, and the delivery of increased fibre data.
In the past, Cisco expressed its belief that integrating Telstra’s and Optus’ HFC networks into the NBN can be done quickly.
In March, Cisco ANZ managing director Ken Boal, said that the process may be done efficiently due to the fact that the infrastructure is already in place. Furthermore, he said that since there are already three million homes on the network, it is a lot more cost effective to set up. Cisco belives that those three million homes can be finished in no time and enjoy their NBN Broadband.