$26 rebate up for grabs for service providers who mail their own NTDs or perform their own professional installations
nbn, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, is incentivising retail service providers (RSPs) to provide their own HFC NTD installation or delivery mechanisms.
Last week, nbn released its updated Wholesale Broadband Agreement for July, which includes a new $150 installation fee for the HFC NTD.
Documents published by the network builder today reveal that service providers can participate in business readiness testing (BRT) for more HFC Installation Options. These include HFC NTD delivery or installation by service provider.
A rebate of $26 (excluding GST) will be provided by nbn to participating service providers when they attempt to deliver a self-installation HFC NTD kit to end users or a professional installation is performed.
In addition to the rebate, the professional installation fee will be waived by nbn since the service provider is providing the installation at their own cost.
nbn says this rebate is to help “contribute to [service provider’s] costs associated with […] managing a Customer Professional Installation – HFC or Customer Dispatch NBN Co Self-Install Kit – HFC for the duration of the HFC Installation Options BRT”.
The rebate will be paid for successful activations or when an activation attempt was made and the provider’s overall activation failure rate is less than or equal to 1.5%.
nbn has not specified an end date to this testing agreement.
Customers with existing Telstra or Foxtel cable service given self-install option by default
nbn, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, will start charging an HFC NTD installation fee from July this year.
This comes as nbn finalises its self-install model which sees end users being mailed their own Network Termination Device in premises with an existing cable installation.
According to its updated WBA price list, nbn will give end users an option of a free self-install kit or a professional install charged at $75 per hour for a minimum of 2 hour (minimum charge $150) excluding GST.
The self-install kit will include a splitter, coaxial cable and the Arris modem acting as the NBN Network Termination Device.
Customers who do not have existing coaxial cabling connecting to the cable network will still be provided with a free initial standard installation.
Missing HFC modems
Unlike NTDs found on nbn’s Fibre or Fixed Wireless networks, the HFC NTD modem is not a wall-mounted installation making it easy for end users to mistakenly remove the devices when moving homes or businesses.
nbn have established that when an HFC Network Termination Device is missing, the new end user will have to request a professional install charged at the same $75 per hour rate for a minimum of 2 hours.
In order to order a second data service, end users will need to order a second Network Termination Device either through a self-install kit or a professional install.
End users with 3 or more existing RF signal terminating devices (such as a cable TV box) will be required to pay a subsequent installation fee charged at $270, plus a labour rate of $75 per hour and any additional material costs.
No high-speed tiers to accompany launch of higher speed network
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, is set to begin installing new HFC Network Termination Devices (NTDs) at the end of this month to allow them to connect to the upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 network.
nbn’s NTD is a customised CM8200B DOCSIS 3.1 modem from Arris, who successfully won a tender to supply the network equipment.
nbn had initially planned to begin deploying its DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs in December 2016. This has been pushed back by a month to the end of January 2017, with the company issuing an amendment to its Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA2).
In their notification letter to Access Seekers, nbn states that it intends to “introduce the new CM8200B (DOCSIS 3.1) HFC-NTD deploying on all HFC installations from end January 2017”.
No speed increase despite upgrade
Despite touting the speed capabilities of the new DOCSIS 3.1 modems, nbn will not launch new speed tiers to accompany the launch of the new modems.
In November 2015, nbn’s Chief Technology Officer penned a blog post saying that new modems by Arris will be capable of delivering “a stunning 5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream”.
However, the maximum speed tier nbn will offer over the HFC network will remain at 100/40 Mbps. The January 2017 Integrated Deployment Plan also shows no future plans to introduce higher speed tiers already available the NBN Fibre network.
DOCSIS 3.1 promises to provide improved network performance and speeds through increased modulation orders and wider spectrum utilisation.
The new NTD will also have a second Ethernet port, however, the port will be disabled and covered by a sticker at launch.
HFC installation premium for customers with existing lead-ins amongst changes in latest NBN product roadmap
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has updated its product roadmap for the third quarter of 2016. Here is a summary of some of the key changes:
nbn’s HFC product launched at the end of last month in a limited footprint in Redcliffe region in Queensland (PR044). The company also recently signed a contract with six delivery partners to upgrade and rollout the existing Telstra HFC footprint for nbn’s use.
Self-install to become default
As part of the current rollout strategy, nbn will send an installer to install the HFC Network Termination Device (NTD) at the customer’s premises when a service is ordered. However, the company plans to implement an RSP install and customer install option by the end of first and second quarter of 2017 respectively (PR112, PR129).
Once this process is implemented, nbn will begin charging customers who already have an existing lead-in a professional NTD installation a fee if they request for one.
Other HFC planned products
Deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs remain on-track for upgrade by the end of 2016 (CE045).
nbn also plans to introduce service transfers on HFC by September 2016 (PR121), as well as various diagnostic capabilities for Traffic Class 1 services.
The company does not plan to offer business grade “Traffic Class 2” tiers over HFC until 2018 or beyond (PR118).
NBN Satellite Service
ISS migration period extended
The migration of nbn’s existing Interim Satellite Service (ISS) customers to the new “Sky Muster” Long Term Satellite (LTS) service has been extended out until February 2017 (PR023). nbn had originally planned to migrate all its existing ISS customers to the Long Term Satellite solution by the end of 2016.
However, teething issues appeared to have hampered the originally anticipated activation rate — shifting the expected end date for the migration by two months.
There have been numerous reports of missed appointments, inability for NBN NTD modems to reconnect after a power reboot and most recently, the decision to retain the existing ISS satellite service after an LTS installation and retrospectively visit the customer to remove the ISS dish.
Consultation on “Managed Services Education” over Satellite
nbn is investigating the possibility of providing enhanced services for distance education students. The company has listed a number of possible products including a managed unmetered data service and multicast video broadcast services over its LTS service. Consultation on this service is expected to begin in September 2017.
Consultation on “Satellite Mobility” which could enable services like on-board Wi-Fi or Internet access for emergency services in remote areas has also been pushed back slightly to September (PR123).
Cell Site Access Service
As reported earlier, nbn concluded its initial Cell Access trial and has begun offering a Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) test service in Beaudesert, Queensland (PR039).
Company to retrospectively replace end user equipment to enable higher speeds using new cable broadband technology
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has updated its Integrated Product Roadmap — revealing that it will be upgrading its HFC network termination device (NTD) to the DOCSIS 3.1 standard in the fourth quarter of 2016.
nbn is still yet to officially launch their HFC product, which is still scheduled to launch in June 2016. Last month, the company revealed at a Senate Committee hearing that they still have not signed construction contracts for the HFC rollout and the initial launch will be limited to a pilot area in Redcliffe, Queensland.
Initially, nbn will utilise DOCSIS 3.0 technology to deliver services to end users. Since HFC is a shared medium, traditionally, cable networks have heavy congestion and severely reduced speed during peak hours.
DOCSIS 3.1 promises to increase capacity through increased spectral efficiency, thus easing congestion.
In-flight satellite consultation in June
NBN will also be consulting with its service providers over “a mobility solution” which will include “a wide range of applications” including in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, emergency services and health and education.
This consultation comes as Qantas announced it will team up with ViaSat to trial in-flight Wi-Fi services by utilising the NBN satellites on select domestic flights.
Detailed analysis of the proposal conducted by jxeeno blog found it would likely have minimal impact to existing satellite congestion due to the short periods of time a plane flies over a particular NBN spot beam.
Enterprise satellite consultation in third quarter
Separately, nbn will also be consulting on the delivery of enterprise services over its satellites. While the roadmap provides no further detail on this consultation — at the last Senate Committee hearing, company executives had alluded potential use of NBN satellites in the defense department or other enterprise applications.
NBN Mobile Backhaul and TV over fibre delayed
Initially slated for launch in the first quarter of 2016, nbn has delayed the launch of the NBN cell access service (mobile backhaul over the NBN) and its inclusion of TV signals over fibre in new developments till May this year.
Unlike FTTP, FTTN and FTTB, homes and businesses in NBN’s HFC network will not be provided a power resiliency policy to deal with power outages on NBN equipment
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has revealed that it will not be providing a power resiliency policy to the NBN HFC network — expected to be launched in the second quarter of this year.
In its draft Wholesale Broadband Agreement, released to Access Seekers for HFC Business Readiness Testing (BRT) today, the company states that it has “made the decision that a general power resiliency policy […] will not be implemented for the NBN Co HFC Network” as the “NBN Co HFC Network architecture is different to that of the FTTB/N Networks”.
NBN’s FTTN and FTTB network benefit from having backup batteries installed within the node enclosures, enabling a certain degree of power backup for the active equipment located on the field. NBN’s Fibre to the Premises network is entirely passive in the field — meaning it is not impacted by on-field power outages.
The HFC network, which NBN will acquire from Telstra and Optus, will replace the majority of existing copper phone and ADSL/ADSL2+ services delivered over the copper network. This means that during a power disruption on NBN’s HFC equipment, homes and businesses could be disconnected any fixed-line phone or Internet connection until NBN and its power supplier resolves the issue.
This could be a significant concern for owners of security alarms, medical alarms and lift emergency phones which depend on a resilient phone connection — especially during emergencies.
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released a test agreement to service providers who intend to participate in an end-user HFC pilot which is expected to begin on or around 1st November 2015. In the document, nbn states that they will use the pilot to “test NBN Co’s delivery of a Layer 2 NEBS to End User premises through the use of HFC technology, which will assist NBN Co to develop a commercial HFC Product.”
Like the current Fibre to the Premises network, nbn will install a Network Termination Device (NTD) at the end user’s premises. However, this device will only have a single data port for interfacing with the NBN network. The device will also neglect the voice port (UNI-V) found in the Fibre to the Premises NTD.
The pilot will enable service providers to provide trial services only to their existing HFC, copper phone line or DSL customers within the pilot HFC footprint.
nbn intends to end the pilot by 15 March 2016. According to the latest Integrated Product Roadmap, nbn expects their HFC product to officially launch in the second quarter of 2016. [HFC Pilot Test Description]
Following the adoption of the Multi-Technology Mix, the company responsible for building the network – nbn™, has released an updated version of the Network Design Rules document which dictates how the NBN is designed across all technologies.
In the document, dated 30th June and released today to the public, the company outlines changes to the network planning process for the MTM. Below are some highlights:
NBN removes protected fibre paths
With the implementation of the MTM, the company has done away with the original “ring topology” in the distribution fibre network, which was designed for fault tolerance allowing at least two paths for data to flow to and from the end user in the case of damage to the fibre network.
nbn™ states that a “star DFN topology” will be used instead, citing cost efficiencies in construction:
The Star DFN topology is the default for the Fixed Access build (post-Multi Technology Mix) to achieve cost efficiencies in construction.
In addition to the shift to the star topology, by default, only a 12-fibre core sheath will be used to connect an NBN node in a NBN Copper Access environment. This may limit the company’s ability to swap out copper nodes for a passive fibre rollout in the future.
FTTN and FTTB won’t have an NTD, HFC will
The company’s updated network design rules also provides insights into the CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) for the new technologies being introduced into the network.
For customers on the Fibre to the Node (FTTN) or Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) networks, nbn™ will not provide the VDSL2 modem required to connect to the network:
A VDSL2 modem (provided by the Access Seeker or end user). This is on the customer side of the nbn™ network boundary and is not discussed further in this document.
However, NBN Co will provide an NTD for customers in the HFC footprint.
The HFC NTD terminates the incoming physical coax cable at the end-user premises and provides one User to Network Interface (UNI). The HFC NTD will have the following:
1 x coax interface
1 x UNI-Data interfaces
The HFC NTD has not yet been finalised and will be the subject of an RFP.
Unlike the NBN Fibre, NBN Fixed Wireless and NBN Satellite footprints, the HFC NTD is expected to only feature one data port and no voice ports.
NBN copper nodes to include 48, 192 and 384 variants
nbn™ has listed that DSLAMs with 48, 192 and 384 ports will be used in the FTTN and FTTB network, with “further DSLAM sizes, are currently under investigation”.
The company says they will prioritise interconnecting their network with the existing copper plant “directly into the pillar” where possible, or alternatively, inject the VDSL2 signals into existing or new downstream and upstream joints.
Each DSLAM will also be served by 4 point-to-point fibres, with at least 2 spares for migration and expansion purposes. Each fibre is configured to aggregate 1GE of traffic back to the newly introduced Access Aggregation Switch located at the Fibre Access Node site, typically housed at an existing Telstra exchange.
NBN Co’s updated Network Design Document can be found here.
Multi-Technology Mix replaces the full Fibre to the Premises rollout
It’s been known for some time that the Fibre to the Premises rollout will come to a head. As expected after the introduction of the Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) rollout strategy as directed by the Government’s Statement of Expectations to nbn™, the FTTP rollout era is expected to end next month in June. According to the 18 month rollout plan released to service providers in March, there will be no more FSAMs (Fibre Serving Area Modules) expected to commence build beyond June 2015 encompassing a “pure” Fibre to the Premises rollout.
The past two months (March and April) saw a consecutive lows of 4 FSAMs entering into build preparation phase. The 19,900 lucky premises over the past two months are one of the final groups of communities to get the full FTTP rollout. Provided that nbn™ doesn’t remove them from the map again, these areas are expected to commence build within the next 2 months.
One final rollout region, somewhere in the Wollongong Fixed-Line Serving Area, is expected to be the final FSAM to enter into the build preparation phase this month and appear on the rollout map in June. From there on in, it is expected that nbn™ will transition to the MTM, dropping the word “Fibre” from “Fibre Serving Area Module”, releasing Service Area Modules (SAMs) that will encompass multiple technologies in a single module.
Following a map update yesterday, NBN Co has removed approximately 58 thousand premises that were previously slated for a Fibre to the Premises rollout from its rollout map.
These premises, spread across 22 Serving Area Modules (SAMs) in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA, were all in the Build Preparation phase where Telstra’s pit and pipe remediation works commences and detailed designs of the SAM being finalised with NBN Co’s construction partners.
The majority of these SAMs are covered by Telstra’s or Optus’ HFC networks, which NBN Co is expected to acquire, upgrade and integrate into the National Broadband Network as part of their so-called “Multi-Technology Mix” rollout strategy. It is expected that most of these areas will now be delayed until the HFC deals are finalised and rollout commences.
However, there are also some areas such as Dubbo (2DBB-06) that are not covered by the HFC networks but were still removed from the map.
Update 15/04/15: According to Daily Liberal, 2DBB-06 was delayed due to an “over ambitious” rollout sequencing by NBN Co.
A full list of SAMs removed, their coverage localities and the approximate number of premises covered by each SAM can be found below. Dave Cooper has also collated and compared the maps of the areas removed. He has tweeted GIFs of the before and after SAMs removed. They can be found below the opinion piece 🙂
Approx. # of Premises
Strathfield South, Belfield
West Footscray, Footscray
Sunnybank Hills, Runcorn
Karawatha, Runcorn, Stretton, Calamvale
Carseldine, Bridgeman Downs
New Chum, Redbank, Collingwood Park
Wavell Heights, Nundah
Virginia, Wavell Heights, Northgate
Redwood Park, Modbury Heights
Opinion: the good, and the bad
(opinion) It’s not the first time that NBN Co has removed areas from the rollout map, and it won’t be the last. But it’s another significant reduction of premises covered by the Fibre network.
The good news is that NBN Co is deciding to make better use of tax payers money in achieving its expectations (as outlined in the Statement of Expectations, which only requires min. 25 mbps, remember!). Once DOCSIS 3.1 is rolled out, the HFC network upgrade will be vastly better than current HFC services and indeed — should be able to deliver speeds comparable to the current FTTP network.
The sad news is that you won’t get fibre (but it’s okay!) and you probably won’t get faster internet for some time yet… at least until the HFC deal is finalised and the upgrades are done.
It is disappointing to see NBN Co add these areas, knowing the HFC deal was ahead, then backtrack and remove these areas silently. No doubt, there will be many disappointed people around Australia that their beloved fibre connections will no longer come to them.
I believe that, as hard as it may be, NBN Co has a role in informing these communities that they were removed from the map for a reason and not to fear. To have them on as “build preparation has commenced”, then suddenly remove them because of a change in policy that was known months in advanced will only cause confusion and angst in the community.