nbn has begun offering services over what was Telstra’s HFC network, with the first services being made available in Ocean Reef, Western Australia.
Around 2,300 premises in Ocean Reef are now able to order services from RSPs of up to 100/40Mbps. This follows the launch In June of HFC services in the Brisbane-suburb of Redcliffe, based on the HFC network formerly owned by Optus. Some 19,000 premises in Redcliffe are ready for service on HFC.
The Ocean Reef launch is based on work done by nbn in conjunction with Telstra earlier this year and precedes the main HFC roll-out which kicks off this month.
nbn spokesman, John Simon, said it had taken “a huge effort .. to get us to this point” and that “a massive amount of work has been done with Telstra, our delivery partners, our technology vendors and our customers to be able to get here”.
Not least of the challenges will have been the technical issues surrounding the provision of open access wholesale services over the HFC platform which, as Simon pointed out, nbn will be among the first in the world to offer.
While copper-based network access services of various kinds have been available around the world for over 20 years, HFC networks have generally not been subject to access regulation.
All the same, those challenges may yet come to seem straightforward compared to the task of finding and/or creating the workforce for the HFC roll-out..and for ongoing HFC network maintenance. As the CWU has pointed out before, HFC skills are currently in short supply in the industry, while the roll-out targets for the HFC component of the NBN are ambitious.
This is a recipe for delays, for short-cuts on work processes and for compromised network performance.