NBN Co has achieved speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) in live network tests with Nokia over its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.
The tests used three generations of passive optical network (PON) technologies – GPON, XGS PON and 25GS PON, with speeds of 8 Gbps (symmetric) on XGS PON and 20 Gbps (symmetric) on 25GS PON.
As a result, NBN Co claimed this is the first time the National Broadband Network (NBN) builder reached these speeds on its fibre in the field, with previous testing done in lab settings.
Dion Ljubanovic, NBN Co chief network officer, said the NBN has around 775,000 homes using more than a terabyte’s worth of data per month, which is up by 30 per cent in the last year, and is predicted to keep rising over the next five to 20 years. As such, he said tests like this are important to ensure the network can handle future capacity increases.
“This successful trial shows us that the performance of the fibre we deploy in our fixed line footprint is limited only by the capabilities of equipment connected to it – as new solutions become available, we can introduce them to increase the capabilities and speeds we can offer on the network,” he said.
“Homes and businesses across Australia are demanding more data than ever before and this will only continue to accelerate over the coming decade as we see increased adoption and applications of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and immersive reality.
Andrew Cope, managing director at Nokia Australia and New Zealand, added that the test used the vendor’s Lightspan MF access node technology, which can support the convergence of multi-PON services and beyond over single fibre infrastructure.
“To meet the future demands of the network in the next decade, [NBN Co] is focused on enhancing the capacity and capabilities of the fibre infrastructure through cutting-edge technology," he said. "The deployment of Nokia's next generation MF series Optical Line Terminals will support higher capacity fibre optic broadband technologies and multi-gigabit speeds while improving power efficiency.”
Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gave the green light to NBN Co’s special access undertaking (SAU), wrapping up a nearly 20-month process.
The new SAU includes a range of features designed to essentially cut costs, the ACCC claims, one of which includes long-term pricing commitments to restrict annual increases in average wholesale prices to no more than the change in the consumer price index.
This, in turn, is expected to reduce barriers for retailers entering the market and looking at expanding their offerings to consumers.