NBN Co, the company overseeing the deployment of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), has revealed that it is temporarily pausing all new orders for connections made via its HFC access network. The company confirmed that this pause will remain in effect until ‘incremental field work is undertaken to raise the quality of service for end users’. As a result, NBN Co said it expects there to be a delay of the current rollout timing of new HFC areas while work is undertaken both within the existing HFC footprint and in areas not previously declared ready for service. Despite the development, the company has claimed it remains on target to connect eight million active end users by the 2020.
Alongside the moratorium announcement, NBN Co also said it is introducing new initiatives aimed at raising the standard of service quality when declaring that its HFC is ‘ready to connect’ in any given area. Changes to the network rollout – which it said it currently adding an average of nearly 80,000 new premises each month – are ‘designed to provide a better experience when getting connected and when using the service’ and will help further improve the reliability of the infrastructure. With these new initiatives to be first applied to the HFC network where there are existing end users, NBN has said that once these areas meet the required standard, it will then focus on those locations next scheduled for rollout. Specifically, NBN Co has said it will be performing advanced network testing and re-mediation where needed, wholesale connector replacements, signal amplification calibration, and lead-in work as required.
Commenting on the matter, NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow said: ‘In order to deliver an improved experience on HFC, NBN Co will be performing additional work ahead of end users being able to connect to … services on the HFC network.’ He added: ‘With the incremental work now required before a home is declared ready to connect, we are focused on providing a better service to our customers (the internet service providers) and thereby improving the experience for the end user … While the good news is that we are working on a better experience for the internet providers and end users, the improvement efforts will take additional time and therefore a delay of schedule will occur for most of the remaining HFC premises that have yet to switch to services on the [NBN].’