NBN Co, the company overseeing the construction of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), has named four suburbs across Queensland and New South Wales as the locations where it will conduct a construction trial designed to speed up the infrastructure rollout. In a press release confirming the development, the premises potentially included in the trial are among the more than three million that sit inside the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable footprint currently owned by Optus and Telstra. As a result of deals signed in December 2014, these cable networks may be progressively incorporated into the NBN, and as such the goal of the trials is to test construction processes to physically connect homes passed by such infrastructure where a connection currently does not exist. In addition, the trial will also look to improve network capacity and boost the broadband speeds consumers might receive. With the construction trials planned to progressively begin from mid-2015, ahead of the large scale integration of HFC technology into the network – scheduled for commencement in 2016 – the locations selected for the trials are: Emu Plain, in New South Wales; and Redcliffe, Slacks Creek and Merrimac in Queensland.
Commenting on the plans, NBN Co’s chief technology officer Dennis Steiger said: ‘These construction trials are an important step in our goal towards ensuring all Australians are able to receive fast broadband as soon as possible … We’re already planning upgrades to the HFC network to enable families and businesses to receive higher speeds. The aim of this construction trial is to deliver valuable insights into how to deploy that upgraded HFC network at scale.’