FTTC with XG.Fast for the Future
NBN may have another ace (or two) in the pocket for Multi Mix NBN: FTTC, or Fibre to the Curb, used with XG.Fast technology. This is an important development for cases where either a pure fixed line NBN, or wireless format cannot be installed. It is also another alternative to the widely available copper or part copper Mixed Technology NBN, and still uses the same existing copper networks in premises where they are already installed. This new version of it is both a response to any perceived and actual limitations, and any concerns as to its efficiency.
FTTC (also known as FTTdp or Fibre to the Distribution Point) is the actual format; XG.Fast is the copper broadband technology. It is a combination that is comprised of a closer connection of the fibre source line to the premises, rather than being in the premises itself, as with most copper and part copper NBN multi mix connections. The XG.Fast technology then is applied as short copper loops to speed up the travel path of the signal and optimise its speed: up to 8GBps downstream in the initial and successful trials prior to deployment.
This is mainly to make the format as optimised as possible, and to level its performance and quality with pure fibre FTTP or Fibre to the Premises NBN connections. Up to this point, it is solely considered as the most ideal NBN connection. Non-pure fibre NBN was relegated as the “other” NBN format, and even considered less superior due to older copper technology and reduced speed.
The reliability is also another perceived factor, which is mainly due to the fact that part of the connection is copper, a less superior material and method of delivery, if only by itself without proper bridging and fibre processing.
This is about to change all of these, and elevate the format as an equal. Roughly half of the NBN connections installed may be part copper connections, due to the existence of many HFC networks within the premises. In part due to growing demands, the NBN Company decided to use the existing networks and technology to address these demands while saving time, money, and long wait times for construction, installation, and processing.
Initially it was deemed less superior to pure fibre, but advances in copper technology and fibre processing has brought it up to par; the answer is short copper loops to maximise the performance of the connection, as well as closer installation of the fibre and copper bridge – to the curb or just outside the premises, instead of the area from within the network, plus new optimisation processing.
Among the few new FTTC connections about to be first deployed for commercial use are for about 525,000 premises situated in the Sydney and Melbourne areas. This will be the initial installation that would lead to the start of the future of copper and fibre NBN hybrid connections. The NBN Co. signed the three way Design and Construction Master Agreements (DCMA) in cooperation with new delivery partners Downer EDI Limited; Fulton Hogan Construction; and, Service Stream.
The deal aims to process these connections using standardised processes, construction, and installation, which will meet timeframe and budget set goals. This is also in order for this new version of Multi Technology Mix NBN to work to its optimal level.
Initially, this would be limited first to the aforementioned areas, with plans to expand outside the initial application areas, which are currently under negotiations.