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nbn™ isn’t fixing HFC, it’s ‘optimising’ it

And seemingly just-about rebuilding it, too

nbn™, the company building and operating Australia’s national broadband network (NBN), has revealed a little more about what it's doing to the hybrid fibre-coax networks it uses for some retail customers.

The company spent billions to acquire HFC networks from Australian telcos Optus and Telstra. Optus’ network has been abandoned and Telstra’s proved so problematic that in November 2017 nbn™ paused sale of new services on the network.

At the time nbn™ CEO said the network needed “incremental field work … to raise the quality of service for end users.”

Yesterday that language changed a bit: nbn™ now says it’s conducting “two new streams of work to optimise HFC connections”. One stream is called “tap up” and “includes everything on NBN Co’s side of the network, from the pit in the street right through to the exchanges that connect to the wider internet.”

The other is called “tap down” and “essentially follows the cables from the pit in your street and into your home where HFC services on the nbn™ access network are delivered.”

Which sounds pretty much like a rebuild for plenty of the network.

The Register has previously asked if nbn™’s contracts with Optus and Telstra included penalties or price reductions if their HFC networks did not perform as hoped. We’ve been told those contracts are commercial in confidence, which is a bit odd given taxpayers’ money is involved.

nbn™’s new post says it is going slowly on the resumption of HFC sales to ensure they are “fully optimised and improved … ahead of launching back at scale.” But the company also said it hopes to soon resume schedule new premises for connection at a rate of 100,000 a month and will hit its 2020 deadline for finishing the network build. ®

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