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nbn™ joins standards body CableLabs

Yet more evidence that nbn™ just won't change its mind and build fibre-to-the-premises

By Simon Sharwood

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Yet more evidence, as if we needed it, that nbn™ has little interest in more FTTP nbn™, the organisation building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has won membership of CableLabs, the global R&D body that develops technologies and standards that help cable operators deploy new services on existing hybrid fibre coax (HFC) networks.

Such networks were often built by cable television operators. CableLabs boffins helped such outfits to deploy broadband services on existing networks. nbn™ found itself in possession of two such networks and while the one built by Optus has turned out not to be fit for broadband, a couple of million premises passed by Telstra's HFC network will use that medium for their NBN connections.

As The Register reported last year, Cisco has given CableLabs a spec for symmetrical 10Gbps connections over HFC.

nbn™ mentions being at the table to talk about such tech as one of the benefits that will flow from being a CableLabs member and says having its name on the roster “... is a further demonstration of the company’s focus on providing technology to meet today’s demands while ensuring a strong path of development and upgrades to meet Australia’s future data demands.”

Membership is open to all, so it is not as if nbn™ has been granted access to an exclusive club. But signing up does mean it gets to play in Working Groups that develop new standards, so it will have a chance to have its voice heard as new standards are developed.

That nbn™ has joined CableLabs is yet more evidence that the company is thinking about future upgrades to existing plant and doesn't think it will be installing any more fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) any time soon. That stance has many opponents, who feel that only FTTP is future-proof despite ample evidence that regulatory, commercial and deep network design issues impact end-users' broadband experience as much or more than the medium used for last mile connections. ®

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