Australian homes can now access 'fibre-like' speeds from a new type of NBN connection

Picture: Getty Images

  • First homes connected to new FTTC option.
  • Shorter connection to homes means faster speeds.
  • Has the capacity for later upgrade to gigabit speeds.

More than 1000 homes in Melbourne and Sydney were today connected to the first commercially available fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) NBN service.

FTTC is similar to fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) in that it uses copper wiring to connect households. But as the wire is laid from a telecoms pit rather than a powered node, the shorter distance to the home means it can potentially deliver much higher speeds.

The homes, in Coburg, North Melbourne, and Miranda, South Sydney, can soon access what device supplier NetComm Wireless calls “fibre-like” speeds.

In its current form, FTTC can deliver speeds of up to 100/40Mbps, but a new copper acceleration technology, G.fast, which NBN Co plans to launch in selected areas by the end of the year, has the potential offer higher speeds.

NetComm says the use of its reverse powered Distribution Point Unit (DPU) and Network Connection Device (NCD) technologies is a “world-first”.

An FTTC service can be shared by up to four homes:

The NCD is self-installed by the customer and combines a Gfast and VDSL modem as well as a reverse power feed to power the DPU from inside the premises and save on the cost of running a powerline to individual units.

NetComm says the NCD will support the upgrade path to gigabit speeds.

“It is the product of Australian innovation and ingenuity and the benefits to Australian households and businesses will be profound,” NetComm CEO Ken Sheridan said.

The new rollout has been installed instead of the widely criticised FTTN option, and NBN estimates up to a million homes will take up the option.

NBN’s chief customer officer (residential), Brad Whitcomb said the FTTC option demonstrated that “NBN Co is an adopter of new and innovative technologies to provide Australians with access to fast broadband”.

“As with the introduction of any new technology, we will continue to gain insights as we navigate the complexity of the build as well as potential issues which can arise when people connect to the network.”

Speeds are dependent on internet service providers. The NBN says FTTC offers a choice of wholesale speeds for ISPs to choose from and build a range of plans.

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