Home Telecoms & NBN NBN Co will have to maintain HFC network no matter what

NBN Co will have to maintain HFC network no matter what

The NBN Co will have to continue maintaining the Telstra HFC cable network even if the condition of the cable network makes it impossible to be used for the national broadband network.

This is one of the conditions of the deal which NBN Co signed with Telstra for use of its HFC network, the Australian Financial Review reported.

NBN Co is paying Telstra $5 billion in infrastructure payments, $4 billion in disconnection payments and $2 billion in Commonwealth agreements for the HFC network.

Current network issues have led to the NBN Co postponing connections on the HFC network for anything from six to nine months.

And if it comes to HFC being ditched altogether, it will be a further black mark for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he was the one who championed the idea of using cable to get the NBN project over with faster.

At the moment, the Telstra HFC network is used by NBN Co, Foxtel and Telstra itself. The NBN signal travels at a low frequency, the other two at higher frequencies. Apparently, at lower frequencies the signal does not travel all that well.

The AFR said that NBN Co had confirmed that it was contractually bound to maintain the Telstra HFC network for as long as the telco wanted to use it for transmitting pay TV.

Turnbull was so much in favour of HFC that he renegotiated the agreements Labor had made with both Telstra and Optus to jettison their HFC networks in favour of the fibre NBN that the party championed.

The report said that there had been a bid within the NBN Co to minimise the use of HFC because some signals from Foxtel channels were causing interference with NBN broadband data transmissions.

As iTWire has already reported, Labor shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland has questioned why the decision to postpone HFC connections took place last month when there were indications two years of technical issues in using HFC for NBN connections.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.