The roll out of the National Broadband Network under the December 2013 strategic review has placed a greater emphasis on existing hybrid fibre coax plant being utilised within the national broadband infrastructure. The HFC networks of Telstra and Optus’s are being deployed as part of the NBN, so reducing the overall cost of the project’s rollout.
Before this incorporation within the NBN, the cable networks of Telstra and Optus had both been upgraded with DOCSIS3.0 technology, with many nodes capable of delivering data at up to 100Mb/s while the remainder can deliver data at up to 30Mb/s. In international terms, the capabilities of HFC in Australia remain comparatively low, and there is considerable scope for improvement. In Europe, HFC networks commonly deliver data at up to 360MB/s, while some networks (such as Vodafone’s in Germany) deliver data at 400Mb/s.
nbn completed trials of its HFC service in Redcliffe, Queensland, in February 2016 and planned to launch commercial services later in the year, with some 3.6 million premises expected to be serviced by the network. nbn is also expected to operate services based on the DOCSIS3.1 during 2017, capable of delivering data at 1Gb/s. With the nbn being a hot-topic in the run up to the federal election, the opposition Labor party has declared that it would maintain the current plan of using HFC with DOCSIS3.1 in major metro areas.
In markets across Europe as well as in North America the key driver for deploying DOCSIS3.1 is the wave of new broadband and video competitors. Telcos as well as new operators such as Google Fiber are deploying 1Gb/s services based on FttH, and this is prompting cablecos to accelerate their DOCSIS3.1 deployment plans.
This report provides an overview of HFC networks, including the status of network upgrades as well as data on subscribers and market statistics.
CableLabs certification of vendor equipment for DOCSIS3.1 supporting nbn’s plans for DOCSIS3.1 roll out from 2017; ACCC considers access regulation on superfast broadband services; Optus HFC network could be unfit for purpose for incorporation within the NBN; HFC subscriber growth continues; NBN transition developments, fibre broadband subscriber base shows rapid rise; report update includes ABS data to December 2015, analysis of the NBN strategic review, recent market developments.
AUSTAR, Optus, Foxtel, Telstra, Neighbourhood Cable, TransACT.
Number of pages 17
Last updated 22 Aug 2016
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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