nbn has been trialling exciting new broadband technology, G.Fast, which delivers lightning-fast speeds over existing copper lines.

Greetings from Broadband World Forum 2015 in London where I am delighted to announce today to leading telco executives from around the world, that nbn has taken its first steps towards a potential G.Fast future for some of our end-users.

In recent weeks, nbn has been conducting its first field trials of G.Fast in an office block in Melbourne.

We have achieved fantastic trial speeds* of more than 600Mbps on a 100 metre stretch of copper that is more than 20 years old – this is more than five times faster than the maximum speeds most of our Fibre-to-the-Premises end-users currently order.

In fact, had we not reduced the frequency band used in the trial to avoid affecting other broadband services being delivered over the other copper lines, our trial speeds could have reached around 800Mbps.

This is breath taking stuff!

The Road Ahead

We have also been trialling G.Fast in our National Test Facility back in Melbourne and have achieved fantastic trial speeds of nearly 970Mbps over a stretch of 20 metre copper cable – so, the potential is huge.

This really is just a starting point though. Our next step will be to engage with our Retail Service Providers for wider G.Fast field trials so that we can get a better understanding of this technology.

One of the things that most excites us about G.Fast is the flexibility that it gives us.

We could deploy it in apartment buildings by simply installing new equipment into the basement. We could supply a group of houses via a Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point model or even just a single premises if need be. There are numerous options. G.Fast really allows us to remove the need to actually enter premises to deliver ultra-fast speeds.

Why it matters

The other great thing about G.Fast is that it solves a couple of real headaches.

Firstly, with G.Fast we think RSPs could offer end-users a range of product plans, including symmetrical speeds of, for example, 300Mbps download and upload, something that would hold great value for commercial end-users who wanted to have access to extremely fast upload speeds.

Secondly, G.Fast would allow us to deliver ultra-fast speeds without actually needing to enter people's homes – something that enables a much smoother rollout and is far more convenient for end-users.

In Good Company

The other great thing about G.Fast is that we will be in the good company of some global telecom leaders if we deploy the technology.

Chunghwa Telecom from Taiwan has already commercially launched the technology and, here in the UK, BT is entering its final trials before commercial launch – and a slew of European operators including Swisscom are due to launch next year.

If all goes well, we are looking to be able to launch G.Fast in around 2017 so over the next couple of years we will be learning as much as we possibly can from our global counterparts as we strive to bring fast broadband to Australians.

Tony Cross is Chief Architect at nbn.

This blog is provided for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as representing nbn’s final position. Any views expressed in this blog may change as a consequence of legislative, policy, commercial, technical and regulatory developments, the development of product specifications and other factors. Whether nbn offers such services in the future is subject to product development, management and shareholder decisions and a range of other factors.

*nbn provides services to its wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers, and does not provide services directly to end users. These speeds and speeds achieved by nbn in a trial (including trials at a test facility) are not necessarily reflective of the speeds that will be experienced by end users.  

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