NBN launches HFC network, two days before election


news The NBN company today officially launched its new HFC cable infrastructure, in a move that may further breach the Caretaker Conventions that govern the pre-election behaviour of public sector organisations.

Labor’s original plan for the National Broadband Network saw the project building a near-universal Fibre to the Premises network around Australia. However, since taking power in September 2013, the Coalition has integrated the legacy HFC cable and copper networks owned by Telstra and Optus.

This morning the NBN company formally launched commercial services on its HFC cable infrastructure.

“NBN’s first commercial Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) services are today available to Retail Service Providers in Redcliffe, QLD with some 18,800 premises now Ready for Service (RFS) and ready for Retail Service Providers to connect customers to the NBN™network in the area,” the NBN company said in a media release.

The statement was published on the NBN company’s website but not emailed to Delimiter, in a departure from normal practice.

“NBN is extending and upgrading the former cable networks, sometimes referred to as pay TV cables, of Telstra and Optus to deliver HFC services on the NBN™ network,” the NBN company added.

“This milestone, flagged in January via the NBN Product Roadmap, means homes and businesses in the Redcliffe area will be able to order an NBN service by contacting their retail service provider who will be able to access peak wholesale speeds of up to 100/40Mbps.”

“NBN currently plans to have 875,000 HFC premises RFS with 200,000 of those end-user premises activated on the NBN™ network by June 2017.”

The NBN company also included a rider in its statement, noting that end user experience of actual speeds on the NBN may vary from the speeds actually purchased by customers, depending on “some factors outside our control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s retail service provider designs its network”.

The HFC cable launch was flagged by NBN chief executive Bill Morrow in Senate hearings in early May, and was also flagged ahead of time in the opening months of this year, as part of the NBN company’s near-term roadmap.

However, it is still possible that the launch constitutes a formal breach of the Caretaker Conventions which govern the behaviour of government departments and publicly-owned companies such as the NBN company.

The Conventions (available online) place strict limitations on issues such as advertising campaigns carried out during the election campaign, using government premises to promote particular policies. They state, for example:

“Officials should not use agency resources or their positions to support particular issues or parties during the election campaign … Officials need to exercise judgment if they are scheduled to speak at public functions during the caretaker period.”

“In the case of controversial issues, officials should decline invitations to speak. In the case of non-controversial issues, officials may speak, but should explain that the Government is in caretaker mode and that they will limit their statements to factual issues and matters of administration. Officials should avoid publicly explaining or promoting policies during the caretaker period.”

The NBN company has already formally breached the Caretaker Conventions during this election period once; in the publication of an article by its chair Ziggy Switkowski which defended the company’s actions in tracking down whistleblowers.

At the time, Switkowski was formally advised by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, that the article would breach the Conventions. Despite the advice, Switkowski went ahead with publication.

The NBN company has also taken action which could be viewed as partisan during previous election campaigns.

In 2010, for example, then-NBN chief executive Mike Quigley attracted heavy criticism for announcing during that year’s campaign that the NBN network was capable of 1Gbps speeds, and heavily criticising the Coalition’s own broadband policy.

And during the 2013 Election Campaign, the NBN company again came under fire for collaborating with the Labor Government to host a series of launches nationally for the company’s Fibre to the Premises service.

I think the NBN company is doing their very best to keep this one under the radar, conveniently forgetting to issue the launch press release to journalists and only publishing a brief statement on its website.

However, the launch timing — just two days before a Federal Election — does beg the question …

Couldn’t this have waited until next week? Why does the HFC cable network absolutely need to be launched today, just two days before a Federal Election?

Image: NBN company


  1. We already have HFC. It will fall over and crawl to ADSL speed. Yet you will pay the same as FTTP. A scam.

    They are able to scam people delivering what we already have so not delivering anything at all. With all the downtime that goes with it.

    Those poor bastards at the back of the nose will only get 2mbps. Like they only can get 30mbps.

  2. That 1 billion wasted on new HFC hardware could have gone delivering fibre to businesses. But no they have to sabotage everything.

      • Big businesses with high turnover, sure!

        Small businesses and independent contractors exist… Just FYI…

      • Yes, they can. At exhortationate rates that are simply unjustifiable for small and many medium sized businesses. One company I worked with was quoted just $4k for connection as long as they signed up for a 24 month contract at $3.2k/month for 10mbps synchronous. And they’re about 400m from the exchange (cable length – they’re physically about 150m. They’re getting 22mbps on ADSL2+).

  3. “that may further breach the Caretaker Conventions”
    Awaiting NBN response as “BS”

  4. Yay! HFC has arrived!

    It’s only taken nbn(tm) three years to figure out how to put an nbn(tm) sticker on something that’s already there, to give people internet access that they already had, at a cost of $billions…

  5. I live in this area and the sitting liberal mp only has to have a 0.5% swing against it to lose his seat. Hmmm coincidence

  6. Two days away from the election, they now have the ban on advertising.

    Good thing that this isn’t advertising, but merely a “press release” stating how the liberals have done something for the people……….. oh wait.

    • maybe you should read their press release before commenting. I don’t see anything about the liberals on there

      • The Liberal Party is part of the government, ergo it’s a form of advertising for the government.

  7. Something else to consider is that today is June 30, so it could very easily be to bring the rollout into the 2016 financial year. That plays a bigger role in these things than people realise, mostly for political reasons.

    It could be business as usual, just tainted by the election date being July 2. Cynical side of me says its political, public servant side of me says ‘nothing to see, move along’…

      • *last financial year :) Can say it tomorrow if you like, will be true.

        Mostly pointing out that June 30 has a lot of business reasons for being important, specifically because its the end of the tax year, and hence the end of many reporting periods.

        The CP’s for the NBN (and in general in Australia) operate on a financial year cycle as well, so what was their HFC target for the 15-16 year? Does this allow them to claim X people on the HFC system as RFS and hence counted?

        Thats the ‘benefit’ I see from this. The people in those areas are technically on the NBN network as of now.

        • “Thats the ‘benefit’ I see from this. The people in those areas are technically on the NBN network as of now.”

          Not exactly. Until people on the Optus HFC network, like my parents in Clontarf, get NBNCo branded equipment, they are still on Optus. They won’t be NBNCo connected until they change over. NBNCo may now be using the cable, but the equipment is essentially wrong…

          • Hmm… didnt save my reply yesterday. Cant remember exactly what I wrote, but basically, its technicalities and really nothing else.

            They are technically linked to NBN, so fall into the 2015-16 financial year. Thats all I’m saying.

            In reality, they probably arent (by probably, I mean almost certainly) but thats not what I’m getting at. From a business perspective, the switchover shouldnt be much to just get them on the network and potentially able to be sold NBN services.

            If that happened yesterday, they are technically RFS and counted as NBN ready. Again, relevant solely because of the timing of reports. For the user, not so much.

            From NBN Co’s point of view, of course they are going to make an announcement for something like this. It IS significant. The timing sucks, and allows for the cynicism of being a political tool, and maybe it is, but its going to be a tough one to prove.

        • yes but that doesn’t mean the announcement has to be this financial year. They can do all that then announce it Monday morning and as per the restrictions listed, simply state the announcement was delayed 2-3 days due to caretaker conventions!!

  8. Of course this would never have happened under the Labor NBN Co.

    Over the past week, the National Broadband Network Company has held no less than five launch events to mark the switch-on of its fibre network infrastructure in Queensland and Western Sydney, locations which will be critical to the Australian Labor Party if it is to retain power in the upcoming Federal Election.


    It seems the current NBN Co needs to increase the rate of product launches.



    • Err alain,

      …and Renai called it what back then?

      “breaking caretaker conventions”

      You’ll also note that unlike you who supports everything Coalition and won’t admit that this isn’t a good look, I actually said at that time, it wasn’t a good look… keeping in mind that was some 4 weeks, not 2 fucking days before the election, but hey..

      As usual, it’s all ok “now” *sigh*

      BTW – why didn’t you comment at the time, were you banned again or still?

      Apology accepted/you’re welcome.

    • “Of course this would never have happened under the Labor NBN Co.”
      Well duh. End-of-life technologies such as HFC weren’t part of Labors policy.

    • Meh, I didnt have a problem with it then, and I dont have a problem with it now. If you want to play the cynic card, try reading the original article and compare the comments there to now before starting to type.

      You might find you’re being an idiot. Again. I’d like to think you’re better than that alain, but sadly you havent shown you are.

      • I did read it again, the comment still stands, both articles were about breaking caretaker conventions , you and the other usual FTTP band of brothers wanting control in wanting to have a Coalition NBN Co criticism only discussion to the exclusion of all other comment doesn’t count as a valid reason.

        • Was going to post a rant, decided it wasnt worth it. End of the day, you’re a tosser that cant see past his own opinion.

          You cannot possibly understand that this isnt about today, its about 10 years from now.

          I’m consistent, I dont have a problem with MTM, I have a problem with FttN. Likewise, I didnt have a problem 3 years ago with announcements in the election period, and I dont have them now. Its BAU stuff.

          But you cant see that. You have some bizarre filter in your brain that just switched everything off when anyone questions FttN.

          Keep up with that, if you’re right, Australia is screwed for generations to come. Which I assume you’re happy with.

    • I said it then, and I’ll say it now:

      If they were releasing new policy, or conducting pork barrelling sessions at them, then I’d a agree, but from the NBN Co pressers, they seem pretty ordinary (dare I say, boring even?).

      It’s more interesting that there seem to be so many launches popping up now. Is the famed “ramp up” finally coming on line, or have they been holding back on the official launches to coincide with the election???

      Considering we’re still waiting for the fabled FttN ramp up “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”…

      And a link for Alain so he isn’t confused by a LOTE: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/plus_%C3%A7a_change,_plus_c%27est_la_m%C3%AAme_chose

    • The first release sites for FTTP were from a few selected ISP’s, the problem is what?

      • Since you asked alain,

        “the problem is what”

        Never ending flip-flops, contradictions and hypocrisy from people such as you, who claimed one set of immovable rules applied to FTTP and no longer apply the same rules (or rather any rules) to FRAUDBAND…


        Apology accepted

        • Apart from…

          Never ending flip-flops, contradictions and hypocrisy from people such as you, who claimed one set of immovable rules applied to FTTP and no longer apply the same rules (or rather any rules) to FRAUDBAND…

          Sorted indeed.

          You’re welcome.

          • @ alain, since you asked…

            He’s probably hanging out with Hotcakes, JasonK, R0nin and anyone else I missed that you have moronically (yes you read it right, moronically) suggested are me…

            But I guess that (sock-puppetry) is all just part and parcel for those of you who are so politically impeded/cyclopic that you perpetually rely (read: stoop so low) upon the aforementioned “never ever ending flip-flops, contradictions and hypocrisy”.

            Apology accepted/you’re welcome

    • As of this earlier morning. TPG and Optus were taking online orders for Redcliffe QLD NBN HFC. But Telstra and TPGlite(iinet) were not yet taking orders for Redcliffe QLD NBN HFC.

  9. Does this mean my 30ms ping in Quakeworld is on the cusp of becoming reality? Yeeeaaaahhh! I fkn love 1997. I can’t even imagine what the world will be like post-millennium!

    • Hold up there – no one needs more than 5.6kbs dialup!

      I love my hfc connection – it slows down below 3mbs every night without fail.

      I hope nbn has upgraded the area.

    • According to Telecom, they’re going to start rolling out fiber-optics in the early 00s. Imagine that! Lasers, travelling at the speed of light!

          • We dont have dropbears where I live. The Yowies got them all a few years back.

            Its the hoopsnakes we have to worry about these days.

  10. Couldn’t have waited a week, CP16 targets would’ve been missed.

    CP16p60 FY16 RFS:
    HFC 10k, all tech 2.6m.

    Actuals (above & weekly progress)
    HFC 18k, all tech 2.7m

    The company’s rollout targets achieved (actually exceeded) for the first time in its 7 year history. Only FTTN numbers to be confirmed (predicted 500k).

    Delimiters will all over the news, congratulating the new management. Expect celebrations.

    Lowest CPP, highest revenue demographics. Let’s see end-user performance, hopefully push that 1.05mbps / customer RSP CVC upwards.

    • “Couldn’t have waited a week, CP16 targets would’ve been missed. ”

      Its a press release!! FFS it damn well could have waited till Monday (“Officials should avoid publicly explaining or promoting”)

      I mean release the product let the selected RSP offer the service but just wait a couple of days to officially announce it.

      Its not like during the rest of today nor tomorrow anyone is going to actually be connected anyway!! (EOFY I’m sure RSP’s are up to their eyeballs in all sorts of reporting etc).

    • Well Richard not all tech as the 400k on sat are not connected but they are using premises passed figures. Which the same SR said was not accurate.

      • The CP16 referenced page shows “Satellite (incl ISS)” 412k RFS. Actuals (weekly progress) 407k.

        Numbers RFS, not connected.

        • So when the SR said the NBN missed it targets by 80%
          “NBN Co has previously reported Satellite premises covered as 250,000, however the Independent Assessment considers that it is more appropriate to report 48,000 Premises Passed given the contractually limited capacity of the ISS.”
          So since they only one sat is up and only support 250k they have also missed there target by around 50% of the 400k they are claiming to be RFS.

          • Again (another) failure to comprehend. Second satellite was intended largely for redundancy, new management has decided to utilise its capacity.

            ~400k (old & new) for NBNCo’s satellite, don’t fall for the squeal (demonstratively untrue; link provided).

            ISS was a laugh (typical of Quigley’s tenure). NBNCo couldn’t even enforce of usage.

            Another jk swing, another miss!

          • Lol Richard completely fails to comprehend.
            Cp16 “Satellite will have capacity to serve ~250k end-users once launched in H1-FY16.”

            So on NBN weekly progress report.
            28/4/16 0 premises covered for sat.
            05/05/16 400,091 premises covered.

            So again using the same metric they used in the SR only 250,000 are RFS not the 400k that is claimed. As unless you know about a secret second launch of the second sat already.

            Yes but Turnbull said there was enough capacity on the current sat which the ISS prove to be totally incorrect.

            But please keep going Richard.

          • Richard fails again

            on NBN weekly progress report.
            28/4/16 0 premises covered for sat.
            28/4/16 34,814 activated.
            05/05/16 400,091 premises covered.
            05/05/16 35,010 activated.

            So again Richard with only 1 sat up that covers 250k why are they claiming 400k.

            But please Richard you seem to be having a hard time to comprehend numbers. So to make it easier for you.
            1+0 = ? As you and NBN claim to have 2 sat’s up

          • Richard you are yet again demonstrating the antics of a severely butthurt conservative… as you are again, strangely compelled to mention me, when I’m not even corresponding with you.

            My goodness, how delicious.

            You’re welcome.

          • See if you can pick the reason for the weekly update change:

            Forecast Coverage: ~400k
            Forecast Activations ~200k

            ISS Capacity: 48k
            LTSS Capacity: 250k

            Whilst your line of argument was better developed than anything Alex ever posted, still no cigar.

            The company’s very first CP targets achieved; zero credit from the delims;-)

          • Lol Richard your lack of comprehension is amazing.
            So when the SR said that they missed there targets by 80% for the ISS due the limitations on the ISS of 250k covered vs how many could really connect.
            But then the NBN is using the same metric passed as claiming 400k covered when only 1 sat is up that only covers 250k not the 400k they are now claiming covered.

            But then it’s not forecast it now in the weekly report as 400k covered.

            Btw it’s not 200k activations it is now 340k forecasted activations.

            So basicly from above you think I am talking between coverage and activations. When I am talking about just coverage. As 1 data cording to the CP16 only covers 250k not the 400k they are claiming it does.

            Ohh look you have a cheer squad.

          • Indeed Jason… a cheerleader or shadow even…

            But unlike Richard’s shadow, at least mine is intelligent and doesn’t need to rely upon “never ever ending flip-flops, contradictions and hypocrisy”.

            I guess our two, dear, backwards friends, are simply peas in a pod.

          • Thanks TM, so JK used (unreferenced) Tsang’s analysis pointing out two different metrics used by two different teams, ignoring expected take-up rates.

            LTSS can comfortably service expected activations of coverage area, therefore NBNCO’s includes total coverage. SR13’s “Independent Assessment” concluded ISS couldn’t and therefore shouldn’t.

            It would’ve been easier if he had provided a link to the original analysis, rather his contortion.

          • Lol Richard
            I am just applying the same metrics used on the current claim that they used in the SR. Since the current claim is using the same metric that the last managerment used.

            “LTSS can comfortably service expected activations of coverage area, therefore NBNCO’s includes total coverage. SR13’s “Independent Assessment” concluded ISS couldn’t and therefore shouldn’t.”
            Yet 1 sat comfortably service 250k of the 400k coverage claim. So going along the same line as the SR therefore it shouldn’t wouldn’t you agree.

            Which has again nothing to do with up take rates wtf are you going in about. No wonder you have no comprehension lol.

          • Thanks TM

            No problem Richard, it always helps when all the people have all the facts in a conversation ;o)

        • Which in itself is an outright and obvious lie, given that only one satellite is launched and they were only designed to handle over 100k each.

    • Sadly as always you fail in the numbers game from the real world of reality. lmao

      There are press releases and there are press releases disguised as poop in my face propaganda.

      Stupid is as stupid does – Forrest Gump

  11. Perhaps someone can explain, why can’t places passed by cable now get nbn? Why is this being done in short little bits?

    The optus cable is crap, ok, but what about the telstra?

    • Interesting that the Redcliffe NBN HFC trial/first release site is mainly Optus (crap) cable.


      • @ alain, lol indeed…

        “FAILED (HFC) cable”, is what you referred to it as a few years ago… “HFC on polls across the road from you, which is only good for the possums to run up and pigeons to perch upon” is what you also said.

        There fixed that for you.

        But what made you do a complete flip flop since September 2013…

        Oh yes, ouch, ouch and OUCH indeed.

        You’re welcome

        • I want a second independent opinion, what does ‘long time lurker’ RIPP think?


          • Ouch, ouch and OUCH again, how awkward for you eh..?

            Can’t deny and yet again, not man enough to admit to your own words (or even try to explain/excuse them) and then go the childish stupidity route…

            Perhaps you had a panel of yes men revise your thoughts on HFC failiure, so it’s now all fine.. ROFL

            I suppose, if nothing else you keep your 100% record of contradiction avoidance/childish stupidity in tact.


            You’re welcome.

    • Existing network is not designed to handle the expected traffic; 80% of premises in coverage areas forecast to join.

      Upgrade performed area by area to reduce numbers of teams required and make it easier for activations (RSP and leadins).

      Performance in trials has been very good (including Optus), unsurprising given the tech is used by millions worldwide.

      Don’t believe the squeal, HFC’s inclusion a winner: 1/3 CPP of FTTH, large available bandwidth, extensive existing coverage (fast rollout via upgrades), high value customers (urban). If Conroy hadn’t been so pathetic 3.5m more premises would’ve been RFS years ago.

      • That’s why Labor kept HFC in their really really different MtM NBN policy, they keep FTTP for political pork barreling, spending $29M for three small rural towns in West Tassie with a combined population of only 3,625.

        Hope their Labor candidate gets in tomorrow.


        • Lol devoid so when you claimed there wasn’t enough in NBN budget for FTTP but now it’s ok that they get FTTN for $18m

      • HFC’s inclusion a winner

        Thats about the only part of the MtM I actually agree with you guys on (that and FttB) :o)

        • @tm as posted 9 or so months ago: fttb / hfc / lte / ltss / ftth accepted by most (notable exceptions) fiberartzi left arguing the 30% FTTN (3.5m). Fascinating re-reading their passed posts given the new reality.

          With some 2m FTTN premises covered by FY17, Labor if elected this weekend can only play on the margin (1.5m). Their delusional claim this can be done with a 6mths delay and $1b additional peak funding will be closely monitored.

          Regardless of election result ARPU underperforming forecast (required for IRR) and comically low provisioned CVC will be the bigger stories.

          A few more starting to catch on, but very late to the party (then many here still can’t see it).

          • I’ve argued the whole time that Conroy avoiding FttB was a huge mistake on his part, and I don’t see reusing the HFC as a huge problem (with the splitter/reworking and addition of DOCSIS 3.1 that they have said they’ll do). HFC with some small outlay (small for a nation) still has some legs in it.

            Being realistic though, I doubt you have to worry about Labor winning ;o)

        • Tinman,

          Do you think $29M to get FTTP to 3,625 is winner as well? if I was a resident I would have asked Labor when it was going to happen and got it in writing, they might be part of the original ‘ramp up’.


          • I have NFI what you are talking about, or what your asking. Perhaps try reframing the question?

  12. Is this “Ready for Service” like my FttN was “Ready for Service” in mid-May yet 7 weeks later but I (and my 5CPK-10 neighbors) still can’t connect to NBN but my ADSL has been disconnected?

    Yeah, that’s got nothing at all to do with pumping up the numbers before the election!

  13. Is this “Ready for Service” status the same as my Node was in mid-May just after the election was officially called?
    Cause 7 weeks later, I (and my 5CPK-10 neighbors) still can’t connect to NBN with no known date of resolution, but my ADSL has been disconnected “Ready for Service” they forgot to add the ™, cause it’s a Branding, not a description of the status.

    Cause if it is, then it’s got nothing at all to do with pumping up the numbers before the election!

    This NBN is brilliant, so much better than Labors version and so much more transparent! /sarcasm

    • Tell us more about your FTTN upgrade experience:

      Did you experience any trouble ( eg disconnections ) during your build ( sept – may)?
      When did your ADSL stop working?
      When did you order a FTTN service?
      Which RSP?
      Is your (voice) phone still working?

      • Did you experience any trouble ( eg disconnections ) during your build ( sept – may)?


        When did your ADSL stop working?

        June 30.

        When did you order a FTTN service?
        15th May

        First connection appointment on May 27th. Second appointment 20 June, third appointment yet to be arranged

        Which RSP?

        Aussie Broadband , but the 5CPK Whirlpool thread has reports of troubles from customers of all ISPs.

        Is your (voice) phone still working?


      • Tm…

        So this an example of NBN meeting their targets, as Richard keeps telling us…


        • Yes Rizz that the conversation I am having with Richard now. Apparently NBN missed it sat targets in the SR but now have hit there targets for sat now using the same metric

          • Check the link I posted there, the reason they met those targets is cause SR13 doctored them ;o)

          • Why all the moaning about satellite?

            The satellite launch schedule and ground station deployment target was in place when Labor was running the NBN, the status of the satellite connections would be the same at this point of time irrespective of which political flavored NBN Co is controlling the satellite rollout.

            What is your point?

        • Sort of, Reality.

          The satellite RFS number would be considerably lower under “old” NBNCo, because while I have no doubt they’d also count the whole footprint, the footprint was smaller by 100,000 or more :)

          So nbn(TM) would have had to make extensive changes. Unsurprisingly, another line item which can only be fixed with additional fibre in 10 years’ time. The satellite capacity is absolute and final – it would make far more sense to start conservative than try and fix it later. But of course, 400k looks good.

      • So this an example of NBN meeting their targets, as Richard keeps telling us…

        All I’m saying is there seems to be an issue there, Finder doesn’t show any info for what that may be, so it’d just be speculation to say why. I prefer to stick to the facts, you can ask Richard for the speculation ;o)

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