The company behind the rollout of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is set to lean on a raft of recently-signed delivery partners to ramp up the rate of its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) connections in the second half of the year.
In its latest quarterly financial results, nbn revealed that it had racked up almost 1.4 million active end users, and made around 3.2 million premises ready for service on the network, adding 338,000 to the footprint in the first quarter of the financial year ending 2017 alone.
The company attributed much of the network growth over the quarter to traction gained through fibre-to-the-node (FttN) and fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) network construction, which passed the million-home mark during the quarter.
“We are now 30 per cent complete in terms of current premises able to order a service,” nbn chief executive, Bill Morrow, said in a statement. “We are rolling the network out faster than ever before and we well on our way towards our 2020 target.
“We know that the next two years will be even tougher, as we double our efforts to bring access to fast broadband to all Australians by 2020."
Morrow suggested that the company’s adoption of the government’s so-called multi-technology mix (MTM) strategy has helped it continue to build the momentum of the rollout.
Morrow said that the MTM foundations of the rollout have now been put in place, with all major contracts signed, and associated systems and processes now built for speed of deployment.
The company's HFC infrastructure – built predominantly for cable television services – was acquired from Telstra and Optus for billions in 2014, and represents the latest technology in the MTM rollout to be launched by the company.
According to nbn, the HFC rollout is set start to gain momentum in the second half of the year.
“The Telstra HFC technology remains a significant and vital part of our network,” Morrow added. “We expect it to deliver a great to service to millions of Australians, both now and in to the future.
"In support of accelerating the build surrounding the Telstra HFC footprint, we signed additional agreements with six delivery partners to help plan and build this portion of the NBN network,” he said, referring to several partner agreements first announced in July.
Following a competitive contract sourcing process, the company inked Multi-technology Integrated Master Agreements (MIMAs) with Lend lease, Broadspectrum, Fulton Hogan, ISGM, and BSA to carry out the construction of the network across the Telstra HFC footprint.
“Under the HFC Delivery Agreement announced in April 2016, Telstra will manage the MIMA Delivery Partners in the construction of the network within the Telstra HFC footprint,” said nbn chief network engineering officer, Peter Ryan, at the time.
Telstra’s management of the MIMA Delivery Partners will be undertaken in close consultation with nbn,” he said.
While the company is making good use of the Telstra HFC footprint, nbn revealed in June that it was shying away from using the Optus HFC infrastructure – which was described as “not fit for purpose” in leaked internal documents – due to the costs associated with using the technology.
At the end of September, nbn had connected 3,939 premises using the HFC technology.