NBN Co is set to roll out a new high-speed cable technology standard that promises gigabit speeds over hybrid-fibre coaxial cables.
The technology, known as Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.1, supports download speeds of up to 10Gbps and up to 1Gbps upstream and will be rolled out from 2017.
DOCSIS 3.1 is a suite of technical specifications developed by industry consortium CableLabs and was introduced in October 2013.
By delivering data more efficiently, it can deliver up to 50 per cent more data than is possible over current cable networks.
Field trials of the technology will launch in the US later this year.
More than three million homes and businesses in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast are earmarked to receive the National Broadband Network over the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) cables that currently deliver broadband and pay-TV services to Telstra and Optus customers.
In deals struck last December, NBN Co will progressively take ownership of these cables and incorporate them into the NBN.
NBN Co chief technology officer, Dennis Steiger, said the NBN would use a network that was already deployed across millions of homes and businesses in Australia.
"By re-architecting the ratio of homes to a node and the use of the latest technology underpinning DOCSIS 3.1, Australia’s HFC network will become one of the most state-of-the-art technologies used to deploy broadband services," he said.
“Effectively, this technology has the potential to offer speeds equivalent to what’s on offer by full fibre to the premises and up to 100 times faster (up to 10Gbps) than what is currently provided by today’s HFC network.
He said it was the same philosophy that was driving the entire multi-technology rollout.
"All the technologies we’re using have an upgrade path to deliver higher speeds and greater capacity. That’s good news for families and businesses,” he said.
Ovum senior analyst, Kamalini Ganguly, said this meant NBN Co would join an elite group of multi-system operator (MSOs) like Comcast and Liberty Global who have committed to significant DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades of their HFC networks.
"The upgrade puts NBN Co on a path to offer Gigabit broadband services within a short period of time," he said.
"Globally, we saw competition in 2014 leading to a big increase in the number of gigabit services being offered by FTTP service providers and we expect this momentum to continue in 2015."