Half a million premises will get NBN fibre all the way to the driveway

Photo: Getty Images

NBN has announced that about half-a-million premises in Sydney and Melbourne will get fibre all the way to the kerb — for a much closer reach than the old default fibre-to-the-node technology.

The company has signed three subcontractors — Downer EDI, Fulton Hogan and ServiceStream — to roll out the NBN to 525,000 premises, with a caveat that “most” will receive fibre-to-the-kerb. Some, depending on circumstances, may still get fibre-to-the-node, -to-the-basement or -to-the-premises.

The NBN started as fibre-to-the-premises under the Labor government, which would have offered homes and businesses the fastest speed possible. The coalition government replaced that with fibre-to-the-node — which would have still left old copper lines from the nearest exchange point to the premises – making for much slower speeds.

The fibre-to-the-kerb configuration brings fibre all the way to the front of the house or business, meaning the length of copper is reduced for better performance.

NBN has tested XG.FAST technology which can deliver 8Gbps through 3 metres of copper, which is 80 times faster than the NBN’s top speed of 100Mbps. But the current FTTC deployment will use VDSL, the same technology as FTTN and FTTB.

FTTC testing in Sydney and Melbourne, according to NBN, achieved NBN’s maximum consumer speed of 100Mbps using VDSL.

The majority of the 500,000 beneficiaries of kerbside fibre will be in the outer suburbs and semi-rural areas of Sydney and Melbourne and suburbs exclusively served by Optus pay TV cable.

NBN also stated that for areas outside the today’s FTTC announcement, existing subcontractor agreements would be re-negotiated to incorporate the technology.

The federal government last month issued a $19.5 billion loan to the NBN to cover a funding shortfall that threatened the completion of the national rollout.

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