news Following NBN Co’s announcement that it is to commence trials of XG.FAST – a new technology said to deliver fibre-equivalent broadband speeds over copper – Internet Australia has said, even if the claims hold true, the network may still need updating to fibre in the future.
While welcoming efforts by NBN to trial new technologies, the group’s CEO Laurie Patton maintained that, before being deployed, any new technology must be guaranteed to deliver solutions that can provide speed and reliability – both upload and download – comparable with fibre, “now and in the future, and with a comparable ROI”.
“Otherwise, we will still be building an inferior broadband service that won’t be fit-for-purpose in the long run,” Patton said. “Our concern with the (multi-technology mix) MTM model has always been that it will not last the distance and will have to be replaced at great cost by a future government.”
Even if it is proven to work, XG.FAST will not eliminate the need to replace the copper wires in the FTTN network in 10–15 years’ time, he said.
Further, XG.FAST is expected to work over only “very short distances”, according to the CEO, and will require fibre to be run to the edge of the premises or driveway – an architecture known as fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp).
Internet Australia said that that NBN should abandon fibre to the node (FTTN) and return to building a “21st Century broadband network capable of delivering the bidirectional gigabit-per-second speeds that are now possible and will increasingly be demanded over the decades-long lifetime of this critical infrastructure”.
In its announcement yesterday, NBN Co said it will conduct lab trials of XG.FAST in “coming weeks”, adding that the technology has already delivered test speeds in Europe in excess of 5Gbps over a pair of copper lines.
The operator said that the promising technology has attained speeds of 5.6Gbps over 35 metres of copper in laboratory trials by BT. Deutsche Telekom (DT) also tested the tech, reaching 8Gbps over 50 metres of copper.
NBN said that XG.FAST, if proven a commercially viable technology, could eventually offer a “much faster and cost effective” way to deliver multi-gigabit speeds without having to use fibre to the premises (FTTP).