back to article nbn™ is installing new hybrid-fibre coax cables

nbn™, the organisation building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network, is installing new hybrid-fibre coax cables in some suburbs. The new build came to light after a Reg reader looked up nbn™'s new “when am I getting the NBN?” service, which was recently upgraded to advise what technology will be used to …

  1. sms123

    Many thanks for your help with this Simon. I'm much happier to be getting cable instead of what I thought I would be getting (FTTN).

    1. borkbork

      Careful what you wish for, my 25Mb HFC NBN is often only 5Mb during the evening peak times. Not sure whether it's due to CVC congestion or the shared cable medium though.

      Wonder how many of Bill Morrow's low speed customers aren't bothering upgrading due to not being able to even get the speed they're paying for during peak times.

      1. sms123

        The only direction is up from what I can tell with ADSL 2+ that connects at around 3Mb (so that's the max I get ever).

        1. -tim

          Even at 3mb, your dsl might be better than what you may be upgraded to. If you are in a battle axe block without proper telco ducts and no place to run the new cables, you will end up with satellite. That means a 1/2 second delay on every request even though the bandwidth is higher.

        2. TheBBG

          I would not punt on that. Cable bandwidth is shared amongst everyone connected to it. The cable might run at 100 Mbps but if only 25 others are streaming it is already down to 4. How many in your area are on the same cable you will be on?

          HFC - state of the art 1990s. Reflecting the coalition's mentality. Lucky it is not the 1950's again!

      2. Rattus Rattus


        My 50mbit FTTP Velocity connection is around 1mbit or less during evening peak times (I say "evening", it's actually until almost midnight every night), primarily because Telstra are a bunch of cheap pricks who won't provision anywhere near what is actually required. And the NBN rollout map says my area is "adequately serviced". Oh, and we get the privilege of paying around 150% of NBN pricing for even worse service. "Adequately serviced" my arse.

      3. Spotswood

        What kind of NBN?

        Do you have Fibre To The Node? Because the kind of behavior you describe is what I get with my standard 100Mbps HFC cable today. If NBN can't fix that problem, then what's the point? Mind you, when NBN arrives for me in 2019, it will be Fibre To The Curb. Which means fibre backbone all the way until the last 8 metres from the curb to my doorstep. I would imagine that will fix my current HFC woes. The Optus HFC back-haul is terrible, and the network itself highly congested. I've paid top dollar for a while, to get a sub-par service. It was great until they oversold their network (at least in my area) thanks to the NetFlix promotions..... Anyway, if I had your issues with NBN, I would be complaining VERY loudly...

      4. mc nobby

        yeah I have to say, replacing my ADSL 2 with HFC and halving my bandwidth is not what I will have waited years for.

        i'll take FTTC over HFC

  2. jamesb2147


    An interesting backstory and statistic. Especially considering the MUCH higher uptake in the US (I believe we peaked around 65% about 2000); I assumed our numbers were similar globally, with some moderate adjustments for poorer households.

    Is there a cultural difference? Do you Aussies read more or something? With fewer televisions, you must have substantially more free time.

    1. sms123

      Re: Thanks

      Cable was always overpriced in Australia and the bundles weren't great value. Free to air was also more ingrained here and there are laws protecting the siphoning of some sporting events to stop them from being cable only:

      Since digital TV started in the early naughties we've gone from 5 analogue TV channels in some markets (to 30+ in metro areas of which about 15 contain anything remotely watchable). Compared to the US we also get a fair amount of free to air content that is cable only in the US (e.g. Archer on SBS). Now there's Netflix so cable here has no where to go but down.

      The story may have been different if cable had started in the 70s instead of the middle 90s.

    2. DesktopGuy

      Re: Thanks

      Cultural difference? Haven't you seen the ads.

      We spend our days having a shrimp on the barbie and drinking Fosters. When not there, it's down to Bondi beach or backpacking at Uluru.

      Strewth, we have the virtually every deadly animal alive and we eat our national emblem - the Kangaroo…

      Don't get me started on the drop bears.

      Jus sayin…

      1. mr. deadlift

        Re: Thanks

        Naiiicceeee Gaarrrryyyy!

        don't forget we punch them too!

    3. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Thanks

      The USA had a major CATV rollout before digital, partly because broadcast TV signal quality was poor. Aus had a much more modern broadcast TV signal, so there was no early demand for Community Access Television.

      Now I think that the anolog signal has been completly removed, to make more space for digital.

      1. Griffo

        It was turned into Mobile Spectrum

        Actually it was removed and sold to Telstra and Optus as Mobile phone bandwdth. The 700Mhz (Band 28) is great for 4G coverage. They actually keep squishing the DVB allocations which is why the quality on the so called "HD" channels is quite terrible as the FTA broadcasters don't actually have much bandwidth to play with. It's also why every year or two you have to re-tune your TV as ACMA force the providers to re-jig so they can sell off more spectrum.

  3. DesktopGuy

    Got a quote from Telstra last week to deploy HFC - but ONLY for Pay tv!

    Just to make thing more complex…

    Th apartment I live in was built months before Foxtel IQ went live.

    At the time the developers opted for satellite disk and "lite" cabling - that one coax lead per dwelling.

    Foxtel IQ via satellite requires 2 cable runs so we have been stuck with original Foxtel units since day one.

    I enquired to Foxtel about switching to coax as impending apartment build-out will soon overshadow our satellite dish and was informed the network is now owned by NBN so we can't be connected.

    Roll forward one month and I now have a proposal for connecting us to coax (HFC) from Telstra but only for the use of Pay TV since we already have both NBN FTTB an TPG FTTB.

    This won't work as Foxtel coax cannot deliver FTA - that has to come from antenna on roof meaning every dwelling still needs 2 cable runs.

    Long story short - dogs breakfast.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Got a quote from Telstra last week to deploy HFC - but ONLY for Pay tv!

      "This won't work as Foxtel coax cannot deliver FTA - that has to come from antenna on roof meaning every dwelling still needs 2 cable runs."

      Foxtel over HFC delivers FTA channels. I'm watching Channel 9 in HD right now on an IQ2 box.

  4. GrumpyKiwi

    Showing the world how not to do fiber

    You have my sympathies Aussies. Your mob really are putting on a "this is what you should avoid doing" demonstration.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The WA suburb I live in has HFC as the NBN delivery option but when I had pay TV installed, it had to be via a satellite dish. No surprise they have to deploy HFC cable runs - it isn't there.

  6. david 12 Silver badge


    At my previous house, Telstra cable only went down the other side of the street.

    At this house, there was no telstra cable until I sent them a photo, because the "database says you don't have cable".

    Both situations that could be adjusted by "infill"

  7. Overcharged Aussie

    Up until last month the NBN site was telling me that FTTN was being installed in my location and going live in Jul-2017. Going down to the local pillar, there they were installing the node and connecting it to the cable in the pillar.

    Now with their updated website I am being told NBN will be delivered by HFC in Jan 2018 in an area that never had HFC installed.

    Seems to me that the records that they are relying on are all stuffed up. I am expecting to next get a fellow at my door selling me carrier pigeons as it will be faster. Yes I am well aware of RFC-1149.

  8. mc nobby

    Just checked the NBN site and I am to be offered NBN (tm) HFC

    Not entirely sure why I have to wait till 2018 tho. Since I am assuming it's the same bit of coax that is currently carrying my foxtel to my house

    Is there some paper form that needs to be shipped from telstra to the NBN and then lost?

  9. Faceless Man

    Finally on the map

    I've mentioned on other threads about the NBN that leading up to the 2013 election, my building was scheduled to get FTTP (a fibre run to each unit), with planning including meetings with the body corporate to discuss logistics. Shortly after the election we disappeared completely from the schedule.

    Well, we're back on the schedule, and it's currently saying we will now get FTTN (this despite claims by one of the writers for this site that no-one had been so downgraded). Maybe we'll actually get HFC, since we're in the right sort of neighbourhood. (Although we're a whole block away from a whole bunch of FTTP, so if they were to backfill with similar technology...)

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