NBN Co’s G.Fast FTTB trial hits close to 1Gbps over copper


blog While your writer was whiling away his time in the Senate Environment and Communications Committee last night listening to NBN company chief executive Bill Morrow field a variety of questions from Senator Stephen Conroy, the NBN company’s media relations team was busy secretly briefing other journalists on the company’s initial trial of the G.Fast standard which allows much higher speeds than previously thought possible to be delivered through extending Fibre to the Node closer to customers’ premises.

This technology is known as ‘Fibre to the Distribution Point’ (FTTdp) and it is already being trialled in the United Kingdom, where British telco BT is planning to extend its already extensive Fibre to the Node network with the technology. Delimiter didn’t receive an invite to the NBN company’s briefing about G.Fast (my feelings are deeply hurt — your writer is planning to spend this afternoon sobbing in the corner of the office), but the trial has been copiously covered by other media outlets. One of the most detailed stories comes from The Australia, which writes (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“G.fast, which allows network operators to bring fibre speeds to copper lines, achieved trial speeds of 967Mbps on 20 metres copper length and 800Mbps on 100 metres copper length, which NBN Co said would be typical lengths using Fibre-to-the-Distribution point (FTTDp) technology.”

ZDNet has further details (again, we recommend you click here for the full article):

“The copper runs 100 metres from the basement to the fifth floor of the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) being tested in Carlton, with an apartment on that floor reaching speeds of 522Mbps down/78Mbps up during a trial last week … However, the company also pointed out that during the trial, it has had to turn on VDSL masking in order to avoid interference with other VDSL lines; once the ‘full spectrum’ is turned on, speeds should reach almost 800Mbps.”

I’ll have further thoughts about the G.Fast trial and Fibre to the Distribution Point at a later stage, but for now, suffice to say that this is a fascinating trial, and we applaud the NBN company for conducting it. The company is operating within a difficult situation at the moment, being forced to continually conform to the copper/HFC cable format the Coalition Government has foisted upon it. But it’s still innovating within that envelope, and that is something to be supported.

Image credit: Jeff Dutton


  1. Its awesome that they’ve managed to get G.Fast working in a real scenario in Australia it really is.

    Sadly I think they have forgotten one of the major issues faced by Telecoms in Australia … distance!
    20m is slightly shorter than the length of my driveway :/ With nodes supposedly out to 800m away only % of people will have any chance of accessing any speed improvements (exp decay over Cu is a real downer).

    Also If they are planning on using FttdP vs FttN what did we just spend $11 billion on? The way things are going MTM is using less and less of the CAN we bought!

    Comparing apples with apples and use the latest standards G.Fast really should be compared to NG PON2 and not just a generic NBN ‘Fibre’ connection that is standard atm Eg 40GBps/10GBps @ ~40km.

    Speed is all well and good but the distance is the real clincher imho. In this sunburnt land gert by sea we have large distances to cross due to even just our urban sprawl.

  2. Typo: The Australian?

    I’m all for FTTdp for MDU’s but if they are considering FTTdp for Brownfields, why wouldn’t you run the fibre the last few metres?

    • @BH Because you avoid having to enter the premises which is very expensive.

      Very interesting article. Correction: the company isn’t forced to use FTTN/B nor HFC. Plain in their statement of expectations. They’re doing so because of their significant cost and speed of delivery advantages. All very sensible.

      • not you again!! How is it sensible to talk about gfast when there has been 0 costing on what it would take to upgrade FTTN to Gfast?? GO home you are drunk. Theres absolutely NOTHING sensible about the roll out choice this mob have taken. In fact its going to hold us back in the digital economy when all our major partners have started rolling out fiber. If it was so sensible why did NZ change from FTTN to FTTP??

        • Firstly I L’d OL…

          …then I thought, hmm perhaps you are right, that would explain a lot.


        • I think you assume it will be part of an upgrade path in all instances.

          Looking at the NBN rollout map, there is a lot of Australia missing either a rollout technology or timetables. FTTP would be nice, but I think bar a change of government, we have to face the reality that isn’t going to happen in anything other than greenfield situations, and where appropriate, infill apartment complexes where FTTP is built into the building.

          FTTDp is a sensible middle ground, and is being used by swisscom quite effectively. They even sell kits that allows users to upgrade the distance between the Distribution point and the home themselves, or they can arrange it through their ISP.

          It also resolves much of the issue with the quality of the copper – not to mention it is powered by the user, not NBN Co.

          • @martin good points, however not even a change of govt is going to return to the previous FTTH model (performance disastrous). HFC & FTTB advantages impossible to ignore. HFC upgrade will be nearing completion by the election.

            To feed the chickens Labor will likely return to more FTTH. The once in a 100 year upgrade argument has crumbled, incremental upgrades to deliver speeds demanded by consumers using continuous tchnology improvements the clear winner (then this has been posted for several years). Speeds over copper at all lengths continue to improve, extending fibre closer to the home permitting huge leaps.

            Overseas deployment utilising exisiting infrastructure have demonstrated the realworld savings possible. That some come have been some blind to these successes demonstrates their irrational thinking.

            Next election there will be little about the NBN, it’s not that important to voters. Fifield talking a much more aggressive position re Conroy/Quigley failures. About time. Labor will be left discussing their plans re the 30% FTTN, they’ll avoid any discussion of costs and timelines but Renai and other will expose such deception.

          • Yes Richard the charge of gov won’t charge it now as we now the worst deal in history.

            Richard the HFC upgrade doesn’t really start until 2018.

            Where has upgrade cost less than than build it right the first time. Oh wait the SR had a saving of just $2B but now with the $56B blow out its going to cost slot more.

            “Speeds over copper at all lengths continue to improve, extending fibre closer to the home permitting huge leaps.”

            Lol biggest contradiction in one sentence.

            So if speeds of copper lengths continue to improved than we don’t need FTTN to get 100Mbps should beable to get it from the exchange for that matter don’t need dp as g.fast can do 1Gbps over serverals km’s.

            Oversea deployment has shown incumbent trying to sweat the last of its assets while new player come in and cherry pick becuase the incubent doesn’t want to upgrade with demand as you claim.

            Due to your other comment about OPEX the SR only took 7 years to make those saving claim useless. Now with the $56B blow out plus increase in OPEX so far $4B more in the CP15 than the SR by completion will only take less than 5 years. So yes the capex saves don’t even come because it doesn’t even make a saving.

            The earlier revune argument has gone as you have claim your self it won’t make a return. But then it wouldn’t be able to make the upgrades you claim becuase there is now no revenue.

          • This is brilliant. Coalition clown class logic condensed into one comment for everyone’s convenience.

            Costly increment upgrades relying on pushing fibre further each time but not actually into the home rather than doing it right the first time defies logic but considering what GimpCo has done so far logic is not to be expected. At all.

            Faster speeds attained by pushing fibre further are now apparently important despite previous claims of “The economic benefits has been much discussed in these forum by myself and others, almost all cam be captured by universal access to relatively low speeds” etc.

            The mental gymnastics required for this must have been quite extraordinary but regardless I look forward to more of the special pleading arguments we’ve come to expect. Hoping it can match the displays we witnessed on Zdnet not too long ago at the very least.

          • Richard
            “FTTH model (performance disastrous)”
            Utter rubbish.
            Have you been drinking the koolade again?

      • As expensive as the ongoing operational costs of all these FTTN’s and FTTdp’s?

        C’mon Richard, think TCO.

        • @bt this has been discussed in this forum and others. Your welcome to offer your owning costing.

          The opex disadvantages of non-FTTH don’t come close to capex savings, nor are they significant when compare to revenue (earlier, capturing majoirty by delivering services matching customer’s demand).

  3. Alcatel Lucent will be very happy to see fibre inch slowly towards your front door. Very slowly in fact. It gives AL time to pick up gold coins from each driveway.

  4. This just in … someone achieved 1 Gbps over 100 metres of copper.


    To be fair though, this sort of deployment does suit a FTTB deployment well. It just can’t scale up like fibre.

    • Pathetic isnt it, how old is Cat5 now 24 years old? (TIA/EIA-568)

      And to add insult to injury we now have NG-PON2 pushing 40/10Gbps per wavelength over 40km’s, not 100 metres!!!

      Welcome to the digital dark ages Australia!

  5. You do have to wonder why they are trailing this when only 25mbps is all anyone ever needs.

    I wonder how they will justify the expense of this upgrade when by their logic virtually no one will purchase the plans…

    • Yes indeed HC.

      Remember those arguments from the usual suspect naysayers (who all but one or two disappeared post Sept 2013,…hmm) but who for years were squawking that such speeds equated to a gold plated Ferrari, and no one except pirates and those addicted to porn could ever want such speeds and it was their (our) taxpayer money on such speeds…

      So using such idiot logic, why TF are NBN wasting taxpayer money trialling this… they’d be better off just rolling out plain old obsolete standard copper to obtain the maximum (as you say) Aussies will ever require 25mbps over standard obsolete copper.

      Oh wait…

        • Jason, if the CBA said that it probably explains why some would also consider 12/1mbps “high-speed”

          • I know I think that had only 1% needing a 50Mbps. But then they had our average speed for DSL at 12Mbps so they are now spending $56B to increase it by 3Mbps great CBA work there.

  6. So – if they extend Fibre to the Distribution Point, they can achieve higher speeds, largely by reducing the length of the copper line. Not as good as Fibre to the Premises (where there is no copper), but better than Fibre to the Node. This sounds quite logical, and it’s nice to see they achieved it.

    It _does_ make an interesting juxtaposition for the news from yesterday that the NBN is going to rollout nearly 2000km of copper expressly between the Nodes and the Distribution Points, though…

    • Yeah it funny becuase g.fast works over 200m of copper and the average length from node to pillar is 350m.

    • Hey Robert…

      As Aussies not located rurally, who haven’t received FttP or are not in a HFC area, in all likelihood we will receive FttN (I’m on the schedule for early next year – although I already would have had FttP, even with FttP hold-ups, so FttN is not faster to roll out at all and I am the proof ;) , BUT nonetheless … as someone not on a political crusade (like most if not all of the detractors here, IMO) this improvement in copper technology is obviously great news for us all, if it works in the real world.

      However, as a FttP “fanboy” [sic] , it is still galling to think these people will waste time and money on second rate solutions to FttP, when FttP is there now and it surpasses everything else ten fold and more. Everything else is catch up but then, it just can’t catch up…

      But of course vested interests must wring every cent out of copper and/or keep FttP away from the masses to ensure current greed levels, for as long as possible.

      So we can no longer get FttP, why? Because of these vested interests plus… the current government simply not being able to admit the others actually got it right.

      Aren’t governments (theoretically anyway, and sans all naivety and gullibility) supposed to want what is best for the nation and it’s citizens? So if not dictated to by vested interests, why keep looking for other methods which pale into insignificance in comparison to FttP, so as to not roll out FttP, even at about the same cost (in total) as FttP? Just supply FttP, even if it means giving the others their 15mins…FFS.

      I saw just today the China Trade Agreement ratified and both sides thanking and praising the others for their willingness to negotiate in good faith. So obviously, Abbott and the extremist nope, nope, nope crew are gone… so Mal just say yep, yep, yep to FttP… (unlikely though).

      I’ll end my rant by saying if this government truly believes FttN is the right way for the nation, yet they completely opposed it and referred to is as fraudband some 10 years ago, well they ought to hang their fucking heads in complete shame…

  7. “NBN Co’s G.Fast FTTB trial hits close to 1Gbps over copper”

    Only possible because the copper is new and only 20 metres in length and there’s only connection. When 50 or 100 users are on the same node using the internet at the same time, then let’s talk about the results.

  8. IMHO FTTB is the only part of the MTM that is worth considering when dealing with existing apartment blocks. I think it has been established that getting through body corporates is incredibly difficult before you even get to the logistics of re-wiring the blocks themselves.

  9. Yep as many of us have stated FTTB makes sense. The short runs in apartment buildings makes it feasible.

    It is about the only thing in the whole MTM that does make sense.

    Depending on the building running fibre afterwards may be an option for the bodycorps. I wonder if the bodycorps will have the option to pay an extra fee to run fibre where it is desirable?

    • Not even really the short runs, its the fact that most MDU’s don’t have physical ability to easily run new cabling cost effectively.

    • I would have thought that the Government and NBCo would rather that labor be directed towards the rest of the MTM build before working any fee for service technology change or full fibre in MDU’s. Too much demand for Broadband deployment workers at the same time will slow down the rest of the deployment and increase the cost of labor for everyone.

  10. We already have cable BB giving 30Mpbs base and 100 Mbps top plan and supposedly upgradeable, why are we all over the shop?.

  11. Yet another retarded solution. News flash, a fibre to copper media converter requires electricity, who is going to have a power point at the front of there driveway? I got a brilliant idea, why not just admit that Labor had it right the first time and suck it up and do what the entire country wants you to do and re-instate FTTP you pack of freaking morons!

Comments are closed.