NBN conducts first fibre-to-the-curb trial in Melbourne

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NBN conducts first fibre-to-the-curb trial in Melbourne

NBN Co has activated the first premises using fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) technology on its network, achieving 109 Mbps download speeds and 44 Mbps upload speeds.

The trial took place in Coburg in North Melbourne using VDSL technology over a 70 metre copper line already serving the premises.

FTTC differs from other fibre technology like the more expensive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) by delivering fibre from a distribution point to the property boundary, then connecting to the premises with existing copper lines from there.

NBN Co estimates each FTTC connection will cost approximately $2900, which is $1500 cheaper than the estimated cost for a FTTP connection. The company claimed that the latest trial shows that FTTC connections can achieve the same maximum speeds of FTTP at 100/40 Mbps while costing less.

Morrow spoke candidly about his hopes for FTTC, saying it would cost another $10 billion to upgrade the existing FTTN network to the more expensive FTTP.

"Of course, I understand why some people come out with glib catchphrases like, 'Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre'. If only it were as simple as that in the real world. Here are the plain facts. This network is not being delivered as a free gift – the government wants taxpayers to get their $49 billion back and expect a small return as well," said Morrow.

"That means that the people who will ultimately pay for the NBN network are the Australians who buy services delivered over the network. So, to be quite blunt about it, the more money that NBN spends on building the network then the more expensive the services will be for Australians – it really is that simple.

The FTTC footprint is scheduled to roll out to one million premises. Last month, Morrow told a parliamentary committee that expanding beyond the initial premises would be dependent on reducing costs even further and speeding up deploying, which said the company was working on.

Morrow also revealed to the committee that NBN Co executives pitched to the government and board a plan to convert the four million premises on the FTTN footprint to FTTC, but the plan was rejected citing a "significant" increase in costs.

Last week, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman released a report claiming complaints about the NBN had doubled over the past 12 months, though the company noted that fewer than 15 percent of those complaints were directed towards the company, rather than retail service providers delivering service on the network.

The number of active premises on the NBN also doubled last year to 2.4 million.

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