Fifield backs HFC technology for the NBN

Andrew Cummings
November 28, 2017

New areas awaiting connection to the national broadband network (NBN) from 11 December now face delays of between six and nine months, NBN Co has confirmed.

He said that despite the widespread issues not all users were experiencing difficulties and it remained the fastest paced rollout when compared with other access technologies.

Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has meanwhile argued that the delay could cost between AU$420 million and AU$790 million "based on analysis previously approved by the NBN board".

NBN Co is working with the existing infrastructure owners of both the ADSL and HFC networks to be sure those who may wait a bit longer to switch to services on the nbn access network will still have access to the same services that they have today.

NBN Co management said that while it was pleased that many end users served over its HFC network were satisfied, too many were not having the experience they deserve when getting connected and some were not experiencing the full potential of the network.

"The rollout of the nbn access network is one of the most complex and ambitious initiatives in any telecommunications market across the world - we are focused on ensuring the network is ready to deliver services which meet the expectations of Australians".

CEO Bill Morrow told me two months ago that the HFC network was an area of concern for them and that he hoped to have a solution within months.

'That's the case with HFC, the issues are very fixable'. Until now, nbn have been adding around 80,000 new premesis each month.

The Australian Labor Party has come out swinging against the Turnbull government in response to the news that NBN Co will pause its rollout of the hybrid fibre coaxial network over poor customer experience.

If you're place was in the process of being connected, the good news for you is that it still will be. nbn turned to Twitter to clarify, new orders are being suspended. "It's almost 2018 and he still can't make it work", Rowland said.

NBN Co has - at least publicly - favoured FTTC as a technology it wants to make more use of for the remaining part of its build.

More than three million households and businesses are expected to connect to the National Broadband Network using Telstra's HFC network.

"The question for Malcolm Turnbull is this: what impact will this latest delay to the HFC rollout have on funding for the NBN?".

The statement said these figures, signed off by the NBN Co board and shareholder ministers, clearly stated that a seven-month delay in the HFC activation profile would have a $1 billion impact on rollout funding.

'With each of the technology types that we're rolling out, whether it be fibre to the node, satellite or fixed wireless - in the early rollout period there are some issues to work through, ' he said. The network will still be completed by 2020, the minister said.

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