Fibre-to-the-curb not in Bendigo NBN plans beyond rollout in parts of Eaglehawk

An NBN node on Barnard Street.

An NBN node on Barnard Street.

ANY chance of all homes in Maiden Gully and remaining parts of Epsom and Kangaroo Flat getting fibre-to-the-curb NBN have been quashed after the federal government ruled out using the technology to connect remaining parts of Bendigo.

The areas, along with Heathcote and Maldon, are yet to be connected to the NBN and there were hopes that FTTC could be fully rolled out following a large number of complaints about fibre-to-the-node.

Pairing technology is required for FTTC to be connected, but is only available in certain locations.

NBN Co confirmed it would continue with its current rollout plan, and the remainder of Bendigo is expected to be connected by the end of this year.

A parliamentary committee recommended that FTTC be used in the remainder of the rollout. A new form of technology, FTTC is currently subject to a trial in parts of Melbourne.

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she had unsuccessfully lobbied NBN Co and the government to use FTTC for the remainder of Bendigo after it was announced for parts of Eaglehawk.

“We used it as a chance to write to NBN Co to call on them to roll out FTTC everywhere,” she said. 

“Where they haven’t put down FTTN, don’t put down slow technology, put down the very best technology which either fibre-to-the-premise or FTTC.

“The prime minister has just said it’s not our plan.”

On Wednesday it was revealed that only one in four customers on FTTN will be able to access the fastest download NBN download speeds of 100 Mbps.

NBN Co made the admission to a parliamentary committee.

The available speeds are dependent on premises’ distance from the node.

The network is likely to be upgraded post-2020 using a forecast $5 billion in annual revenues.

NBN local media adviser Kasey Ellison said changing the design plans for the NBN would be a long and costly process.

“It is important for people to understand that on a project the size of the NBNbroadband access network you cannot just tear up 18 months of design, planning and construction work that is in the pipeline for FTTN deployment to several million homes and change them to FTTC,” she said.

“If we were to do this, to put it quite simply, we would have to tell residents in several million premises that were scheduled to get NBN powered plans over the next 18 months via FTTN technology that they would not now be getting connected for another two to three years, as we’d have to re-start the entire design, planning and construction process.

“Our FTTN technology sets us up very well when the demand for faster speeds arises and a move to FTTC later on makes sense. We are very much designing the network with future upgrades in mind.”

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