DOCSIS 3.1 enabled on Australian NBN HFC network in focus on capacity growth

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Australia’s broadband network operator NBN Co has started enabling DOCSIS 3.1 cable technology on its Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) network in a move to increase activations. The incumbent intends to focus on doubling the downstream capacity on the network, which is due for completion in 2020.

Already launched by several US cable operators such as Comcast and Cox Communications, DOCSIS 3.1 technology improves the spectral efficiency of the HFC network and allows NBN Co to use new higher range spectrum. The company says this will benefit the nbn network, given that ‘around 75 per cent of new end-user premises coming onto the network are now taking either 50Mb/s or 100Mb/s services with nearly 50 per cent of our 4.1 million activated premises now on 50Mb/s or above speeds.’

Prior to launching DOCSIS 3.1 NBN Co had to employ node-splitting to increase capacity on the HFC network. Using technology from HFC technology partner ARRIS, the company is now planning to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology across the majority of the nbn HFC broadband access network by 2020 in both the downstream and upstream directions.

Ray Owen, chief technology officer at NBN Co, commented: ‘NBN Co has worked hard on the introduction of DOCSIS 3.1 onto the HFC network and we are very proud to be able to launch the technology onto the network. Although DOCSIS 3.1 does enable higher speeds on HFC networks that is not our core focus at this present time. From an NBN Co point of view DOCSIS 3.1 will help us increase capacity on the HFC network far more efficiently than conducting new optical node splits which will, in turn, free up construction resources elsewhere to complete the network build by 2020. In addition, we also look forward to the benefits that DOCSIS 3.1 will help bring on the operational side of the network in delivering a more stable and resilient network for end-users.’

The company recently announced that it had rolled out Fibre to the curb (FTTC) access technology to more than 1,000 homes and businesses in Coburg, North Melbourne in Victoria and Miranda, South Sydney in New South Wales (NBN Co goes live with FTTC technology in two Australian suburbs as CEO steps down).


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