nbn™ dumps Optus HFC, will use fibre to the kerb for ≈700k sites

So what exactly did AU$800m buy? An option for bits of Optus network, says nbn™

nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN) has announced it will overbuild part of the hybrid fibre-coax network it acquired from Optus.

When nbn™ bought the Optus network it proclaimed that doing so “will hasten the rollout of the National Broadband Network … and enable us to complete the rollout much earlier than originally anticipated with less disruption to residents and communities.”

But as nbn™ told The Register during a March charm offensive, the Optus network was not built to carry data and needed remediation to be suitable for broadband.

Documents leaked to Fairfax media suggested the network was in a worse state and might need overbuild.

Those leaks now appear to have proven accurate, as nbn™ today announced that Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point (FTTdp) “would be deployed to a potential footprint of up to 700,000 premises across the country.”

FTTdp will be “considered for deployment to select premises that had previously been ear-marked for either Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) or Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial (HFC) in areas served solely by the Optus HFC network.”

FTTdp is thought to be rather faster than either FTTN or HFC, so those who feel nbn™ is building a network that will be redundant before completion have a win.

nbn™'s at pains to point out it hasn't blown the $800m, noting that while its original agreement with Optus was for “progressive migration of subscribers to the nbn™ network and the eventual decommissioning of the Optus HFC network.” That agreement was revised in 2014 to give nbn™ “the option to use and acquire parts of the Optus HFC network to deliver nbn™ services if we chose to do so.”

So why's nbn™ backtracked? At the March charm offensive, The Register was shown Optus' HFC cable in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe. Nbn™ now says that's the only place Optus cable was launched. The Register suspects it went badly.

We're off now to send questions to lots of people – nbn™ thoughtfully dropped the news of its decision late in the day. ®

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