HFC NBN Connections – The Inside Story

hfc-nbnHFC or Hybrid Fibre Coaxial is becoming more and more popular as the method of NBN rollout in built up metro areas. This technology utilises the existing cable networks that had been laid to provide cable TV and internet services. This means that NBN do not need to lay new cables to connect these homes to the NBN.

The big difference between cable internet from someone like Telstra or Optus to the new HFC NBN service is the bandwidth and costs involved for NBN ISPs to provide service over these cables. Previously the likes to Telstra and Optus would run the network and have greater control over the costs to provide a service over this cable.

Now that NBN is involved, the NBN CVC costs are now applicable. What customers are finding as they move from Telstra or Optus cable to NBN is their speeds a changing greatly – for the worse. NBN charge high costs to ISP to operate bandwidth over the NBN network and as such in a lot of cases insufficient bandwidth is being provided down the HFC cable. This is resulting in slow internet speeds.

The CVC charge is a sticky on for ISPs. ISPs want to provide high speed internet to their customers but are stuck with the high costs of CVC from NBN. CVC is charges at more than $15 per Mb os internet bandwidth. This means that to provide a guaranteed service of 25Mbps download it would cost the ISP $375 per month. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of running the network, cost of customer acquisition, cost of customer and technical support, billing, payment collection and some customer bad debt. Now, no-one is going to be prepared to pay $375 let alone any more to cover the ISPs real costs to provide the service. Especially considering the customer has been used to paying $60 odd for their previous ADSL service.

What this means is the ISPs can only offer to provide a certain amount of bandwidth for their customers to use. Consequently during peak times it is impossible to access the maximum speeds that ISPs and NBN themselves advertise.

The ISP industry is pushing hard for NBN to review they way that they charge for access to their network and everyone hopes that they can make changes so that Australia does not continue to fall behind the rest of the world in internet speeds.

What’s more, the move to NBN is not an optional move. Telstra and Optus are decommissioning their cable networks to make way for NBN to connect users. This means that customers in an HFC NBN area will need to make the move to NBN or risk losing their home or business internet service.
When NBN comes to connect a property to NBN on HFC technology a site visit is required. This means that the home owner must be home in order to get connected. An NBN technician will install and NBN HTU (Network Termination Unit). This has on it an Ethernet port that the customer can then connect their WAN ready router to use wifi in the property. Failure to be home for the installation appointment means the connection cannot be completed.

At the time of writing (May 2017) significant delays are being experienced with the installation of HFC NBN. Sometimes appointments are taking more than 6 weeks to be completed. IF an appointment is then missed, a reschedule is required and the customer is placed at the back of the queue. It is also rumoured (as quite apparent) that NBN is just completing HFC connections in properties that already have HFC cabling installed. What this means is for properties without HFC cable connections, they are being missed out so that NBN can complete more connections and get closer to their targets of completing the NBN build by 2020.

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