NBN Co’s transit network has been fast tracked thanks to a growing demand for fibre connections in new estates and to speed up rollout of the fixed-wireless network, according to the company’s chief, Mike Quigley.
He was speaking at the NBN Co Forum in Sydney.
As part of the National Broadband Network (NBN), the transit network will connect more than 1000 fibre access nodes across the country to the stipulated 121 points-of-interconnect (PoIs).
The fibre access node is the point where the main piece of fibre is splayed into individual lines for each premises.
Thanks to its $11 billion deal with Telstra, NBN Co is able to finalise the first release of the transit network which will comprise 149 links across 155 fibre access nodes. The transit network building process will largely use Telstra’s exchanges and Telstra dark fibre so the infrastructure will not be duplicated.
The network is due to be finished by 2015.
“A lot of the construction is not visible and it’s work inside exchanges, underground – it’s a lot of work,” Quigley said.
There were two reasons for speeding up the rollout of the transit network, according to the NBN Co chief. One of them was the Greenfield estates.
Since NBN Co is responsible for implementing fibre into new development areas, the company is feeling the pressure as new estates crop up at a rapid rate.
Fibre construction work has already begun in thousands of new premises. Over the next 12 months, NBN Co will be approving fibre build for 334 separate towns and suburbs which will add more than 60,000 premises to the list.
“We need to [accelerate the transit network] so we can effectively try to reach all these new developments,” Quigley said.
If NBN Co does not have the transit network running as soon as possible, it will have to lease managed backhaul capacity to service new developments which can be quite expensive, he said.
Another reason for speeding up the transit network rollout is the fixed-wireless network.
In June, NBN Co awarded a $1 billion contract to Ericsson for a 4G LTE fixed-wireless network which will service some of the premises outside of the fibre footprint. It is also due to be completed by 2015.
“We need to accelerate [the transit network] so we can provide fixed-wireless service. The Government has asked us to accelerate so we can serve rural Australia more effectively,” Quigley said.
But he concedes fast-tracking the wireless network may cause a “donut effect” where some areas might not have a fibre broadband connection but is surrounded by regions that already have a fixed-wireless service up and running.
The NBN Co Forum ends today.