news iiNet has announced that it will soon be starting trials of HFC cable as part of the NBN rollout, adding that they will “bring faster, more reliable Internet to Australians faster”.
Australia’s HFC (hybrid fibre-coaxial) network was previously used by telecommunications companies, such as Telstra and Optus, largely to provide pay TV and cable Internet services.
However, it has since been bought by the NBN as part of its mix of technologies being rolled out to avoid the expense of a full fibre network. The NBN Co plans to upgrade the infrastructure allowing it service more premises in the existing area.
Adding HFC cable to the NBN rollout also means more Retail Service Providers (RSPs) are now able to access the network, which was previously only available to “select retailers”, iiNet said.
Now iiNet is preparing to trial the HFC product in “some select homes”.
“Our aim is to test out the product and its performance and get a feel for the customer experience before bringing out our range of Cable products,” the firm said in a blog post.
iiNet’s HFC trial will kick off in Redcliffe, Queensland, where the telco has the capacity to trial 8 homes falling within the footprint of the former Optus cable network.
The second area, where iiNet will trial 12 homes, is Ocean Reef in Western Australia, using cable previously owned by Telstra.
iiNet said one of its main goals for the trials is to test “various forms of connection”.
Only some of the trial homes will have HFC infrastructure already installed, it said, and not every home that will be receiving NBN cable was previously eligible for Optus or Telstra cable, despite being within the network footprint.
“We want to make sure we have the best possible understanding and know-how to get these premises connected swiftly. We also want to test the compatibility of our products and hardware with the Cable service to ensure they are ready to handle the ultrafast connection speeds,” iiNet said.
The speed of the connections with be another consideration.
“Anything we feel isn’t up to standard can then be modified or changed completely to make sure we’re delivering the top notch service we pride ourselves on,” explained the firm.
iiNet aims to start offering commercial NBN HFC cable plans soon after the trials, and expressed confidence that “everyone in a Cable footprint will want to connect”.
“Cable can support our suite of speed offerings of up to 100/40Mbps and for some premises, most of the equipment will already be installed,” the firm added.
According to Budde.com, the NBN Co completed its HFC trials in February 2016 (also in Redcliffe) and plans that its network will cover around 3.6 million premises.
The site added that the NBN is also expected to operate the upgraded HFC cable services based on the DOCSIS3.1 during 2017, which will be capable of delivering data at 1Gb/s.