news A senior Nokia executive this week said that “extraordinary innovation” is happening in copper broadband technology, in comments that will likely boost the case for the Government’s mixed technology policy on the NBN.
Speaking at the CommsDay Summit on 5 April, Ray Owen, Managing Director of Nokia Oceania (pictured), took the opportunity to discuss Nokia’s ongoing role in the NBN.
Spelling out that Nokia is NBN’s “original fixed network partner”, Owen said the firm is “very proud” of its work on the NBN, as well as the “national significance and international recognition” of the project. Nokia itself has had a relationship with the NBN, as well as though its recent acquisition of French company Alcatel-Lucent.
“We are firm believers in the national benefits,” he stated.
“I’d be stating the obvious to say this is a political minefield, but the fact of the matter is that NBN is following the predominant global deployment trend in its application of a flexible toolkit of access technologies,” said the MD.
The key, he continued, is flexibility in the choice of technologies and means of deployment “to suit market conditions and demands”.
Nokia calls this approach ‘fibre to the most economic point’. While that does include fibre to the premises (FTTP), it also recognises the “extraordinary innovation pathway now maturing in the copper network domain”, Owen said.
These innovations include technologies like VDSL Vectoring, G.Fast and XG-Fast, and deployment options like FTTN, FTTB and FTTdp (also called DPU).
In conjunction with Deutsche Telekom, Nokia recently demonstrated that XG-Fast, the “latest innovation” in the copper-based technology suite can provide a data throughput capability of more than 8Gbps over a 50m copper line.
This “fibre-like” speed is much faster than that currently experienced in the average residential broadband connection.
However, such capabilities are a “future consideration”, said Owen, “Right now we’re focused on delivering NBN’s present needs.”
He went on to announce that, following the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia will continue to support NBN’s VDSL2 Vectoring needs as it transitions to the full-scale mass deployment stage for its FTTN and FTTB deployments.
“We’ve already been providing these technologies, and this is a strong recognition of our strategic relationship over the last five years and the innovation pathway that Nokia can deliver for this project,” Owen said.
By adopting a flexible approach with leading edge technologies such as VDSL2 Vectoring and fiber, NBN is “extremely well placed” to meet its goals to deliver better broadband across Australia, he added.
“Nokia is uniquely equipped to put this project among the most advanced ultra-broadband networks in the world,” concluded Owen.
The issue of whether the NBN should roll out with its current mix of fibre and copper or should adhere to a full fibre policy has been much debated in recent days.
Mitch Fifeld, Federal Minister for Communications, has hit out several times at Labor over what he called its lack of policy on the NBN and the technology that best supports it. While Labor has previously advocated fibre to the premises (FTTP) for the NBN, Fifield suggested it might be about to “backflip” on its stance.
Additionally, independent telecommunications consultant Paul Budde recently called for Australians to do more to ensure the rollout a “future-proof” NBN.
This, he said in a blog post, would include a full-fibre network (including FTTdp) rather than the fibre and copper mix that is currently being promoted by government.