NBN achieves ‘lightning fast’ speeds in promising lab trial of XG.FAST technology

EMERGING technology that promises to dramatically increase internet speeds over copper wires has been successfully trialled in the lab by the National Broadband Network (NBN), the company said.

NBN co has concluded its trials of high-bandwidth technology known as XG.FAST which commenced last month, claiming to have achieved “lightning fast” peak aggregate speed of 8Gbps over 30m of twisted-pair copper, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The mandated minimum speeds to be provided under the NBN is 25Mbps. According to the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report the average Australian broadband speed currently comes in at 8.5Mbps. As NBN co points out, the XG.FAST trials provide speeds which are 900 times faster than the current national average.

The NBN also said it achieved peak average speeds of 5Gbps over a 70m copper line.

A number of technologists and media commentators have lamented the NBN’s commitment to using Telstra’s ageing copper network (which will eventually need to be replaced) to help build much of the giant infrastructure project, but the company is keen to prove there is plenty of life left in copper with new technology allowing for greater performance.

“Although XG.FAST is still in its very early stages of development the lab trials we have conducted demonstrates the huge potential that the technology offers,” NBN’s chief technology officer Dennis Steiger said in a statement.

“XG.FAST gives us the potential ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds over copper lines — virtually on a par with what is currently available on Fibre-to-the-Premises — but at a lower cost and time to deploy.

“While our core goal remains to connect eight million premises to the NBN by 2020 we are keeping a close eye on new technologies like XG.FAST to ensure we can meet the future bandwidth demands of Australian broadband users,” he said.

The lab trials were conducted at the NBN headquarters in northern Sydney in conjunction with vendor Nokia.

NBN co is the third operator in the global market to trial the technology, after the UK’s BT last year and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in February.


Simply put XG.FAST is the next version of a Nokia-owned technology known as G.Fast which provides a way to send information across the end of a digital subscriber line (DSL) with much greater speeds.

G.Fast is seen by some as the answer to the copper versus fibre debate because it allows copper to be given fibre-like abilities, and is rolled out over the final 30 to 100m of copper wiring.

Chief executive Bill Morrow has always maintained the building of the NBN has been about getting the network to Australians as quickly as possible while ensuring a clear path to upgrade its potential.

During a site trip outside of Brisbane in March, Mr Morrow told news.com.au that with the emergence of new “techniques that are further advanced, that further reduce the cost … then we’ll push the fibre down the street to give people what they need, when they need it.”

The trial of XG.FAST technology is about ensuring he is able to make good on that promise.

The company recently announced it will abandon much of Optus’ cable TV network and instead opt to roll out fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FttDP) for an extra 700,000 premises, meaning fibre will be run closer to the final connection at the home.

While the rollout of XG.FAST in the field is still many years away, such FttDP connections could be the ideal place to start introducing the technology, and ultimately provide Australians with the broadband capabilities we will desperately require in the future.

By: Nick Whingham

Posted On: http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/nbn/nbn-achieves-lightning-fast-speeds-in-promising-lab-trial-of-xgfast-technology/news-story/5db03b8b3581b956322af638574a1652


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NBN Co Revenue Jumps as National Broadband Network Users Rise

The company in charge of rolling out the national broadband network says it is well on track towards its long term goals after adding about 338,000 new homes and businesses to the system in the September quarter.

Most of the growth came on the back of a lift in the number of Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) connections.

The fast-to-implement technology, introduced in September 2015 despite criticism of its relative performance, is currently helping drive overall footprint expansion, NBN Co said.

The federal government-owned NBN reached 3.2 million premises by September 30.

Chief executive Bill Morrow said that number had now reached 3.4 million, representing nearly 30 per cent of the company’s overall 2020 target.

“This quarter’s result is further evidence that we are on track to achieve our long term targets,” he said over a conference call on Tuesday.

The corporation earned revenue of $181 million for the three months to September, more than double from a year ago, driven by a jump in active end- users.

Active users rose to 1.38 million at September-end, chief financial officer Stephen Rue said, compared to about 611,000 a year ago.

The user base rose more than 25 per cent in the three-month period, he said.

Average revenue per user – a key figure for the telecommunications industry – was steady at $43 a month over the year.

NBN incurred $1.48 billion in capital expenditure during the September quarter.

“We are adding more than 100,000 homes and businesses to NBN every month and I expect this number will only increase,” Mr Morrow said.

NBN said in September it would implement the new fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) technology for 700,000 homes and businesses, as this would be cheaper than using the legacy Optus cable network.

About 400,000 of theses sites had been slated to get the more expensive HFC connections.

Posted on: http://www.afr.com/technology/web/nbn/nbn-co-revenue-jumps-as-national-broadband-network-users-rise-20161108-gskv3f


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Here’s the dummies’ guide to the NBN

A FEW lucky Aussies already have National Broadband at their fingertips. The rest of us are waiting. Waiting for downloads, waiting to stream ABC iView, waiting for our Skype connections to stop being so jerky.

This election the question to ask when you’re voting is this: Will we get “fibre” all the way to our home?

Fibre is optical fibre — a little strand of glass that shoots bursts of light. Experts believe it is the best because lots of data can go along it at the speed of light. You can’t get much faster than that.

The big question is where that fibre stops. Does it come all the way to your house, which means a lot of expensive installations? Or stop at a node in a green box on your street and then use copper cables for the last bit?

First, the bad news: It turns out whether Labor or Coalition win government this election most of us will never get fibre all the way to our home. Under both Labor and Coalition plans, most people will be stuck on fibre to the node, or satellite, or pay TV cables instead of fibre to the premises.

But some lucky people will get fibre. The big political difference here is Labor promising fibre to the premises for 39 per cent of Australian homes, nearly double the 20 per cent the Coalition is offering. It amounts to 2 million people.

Are you going to be in that 19 per cent extra? Are you in the lucky segment? We don’t know.


Labor is coy about who exactly will get the superior service. Logically though, it would be areas where rolling out fibre is cheap, that is, high density parts of Australia.

If you live on an acre block surrounded by forest, I wouldn’t hold your breath … unless of course you’re on the west coast of Tasmania. Labor has promised western Tasmania will get fibre to the premises. It is the location of the marginal seat of Braddon — held narrowly by the Liberals.

The rest of us are on a wait-and-see policy. Given the Labor NBN is not due to be fully rolled out until 2022, the exact location of the full 19 per cent could still be unknown at the 2019 election. And maybe the election after as well.

And of course, there’s an asterisk on the extra 19 per cent. Labor is promising it so long as the price doesn’t go over $57 billion.

(As an aside, when the NBN was first mentioned by Kevin Rudd, it had a $15 billion price tag. That went up to $43 billion, it’s now at $57 billion and if the price stops rising now I’d be flabbergasted. Labor loves to talk about the NBN as “Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess” and it’s true he stuffed around with the original plan. But many complex infrastructure projects have cost blowouts and it might have been their own mess if they hadn’t lost the last election.)

Not all the $57 billion cost goes to taxpayers. Public spending is capped at about $30 billion. So the taxpayer is not on the hook for the whole amount and the private sector will pay the rest.


Labor’s plan is a bit pricier and a bit slower to roll out, but probably better for some people. The Liberal plan is a bit cheaper and a bit faster, but it relies more on fibre to the node, where the fast optical fibre goes to a green box on your street. Is that good?

Here’s a quote from the director of the NBN Co about fibre to the node (FTTN): “FTTN sucks … if I could wave a wand, it’s the bit I’d erase.”

But it’s too late for magic. Contracts for fibre to the node have been signed and both parties will actually deliver a lot of NBN that way.

Labor may not like fibre to the node but it will still honour the contracts. It says it will then plan to move people off fibre to the node and onto fibre to the premises, but that’s a very long way off. Both parties will also be using the old pay TV cables to bring some people NBN.

That is the approach a senior Labor figure once called “Operation Clusterf**k.” Will it be a clusterf**k? Most people are confident the old Telstra pay TV cables will be fine. But some pay TV cables are Optus, and they may not be. That was the topic of the leaks that led the NBN to raid houses in Melbourne a little while back.

It’s become very messy and very political. But the key point is that both parties are offering fibre to the premises to a minority of Australians and a mixed solution to the rest of us. In the short term, Labor is different for 19 per cent of people, who will get fibre to the premises instead of some other solution.

By Jason Murphy
Posted on: http://www.news.com.au/technology/heres-the-dummies-guide-to-the-nbn/news-story/f9ec050412b5d8f66762581


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