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A Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection is a type of NBN connection that makes use of existing pay TV or cable lines. The cable lines form the final part of the NBN connection, and voila, high-speed Internet!1
HFC is short for Hybrid Fibre Coaxial – what a mouthful! But if you break it down, it makes sense. ‘Coaxial’ is the type of cable used in the pay TV network,2 ‘fibre’ is a shorthand for the fibre-optic cable used to build the NBN network, and a HFC connection uses a hybrid of both.
If your home has been allocated a HFC NBN connection, it’s probably because your neighbourhood and your own premises already have cables.
You might already be aware that the NBN network runs all across the country, starting out in major hubs and travelling all the way to different regions across Australia.3 The sites in suburbs and towns where a major NBN line divides into smaller lines are called ‘nodes’.4
With a HFC connection, coaxial cables then run from the nodes to your home, connecting you to the national network.5
Like most NBN connections, HFC can offer a range of speed options. In theory, HFC connections can deliver download speeds of up to 1Gbps,6 although this can depend on local traffic (especially during peak evening hours!) as well as your NBN Plan and provider.
HFC is typically slower only to FTTP connections.7 This means homes or businesses with a HFC connection should usually be able to access NBN Home Superfast Plans (the second-fastest available).8 They can sometimes access Ultrafast Plans (the fastest available).9
With HFC, any NBN Plan could be fair game – if you’re looking at the fastest tiers, you’ll just need to check whether they’re possible with your particular connection.10
Many providers offer a variety of plans and iSelect can help you choose a plan that suits your budget and needs from a range of plans and providers*.
Starter plans can begin from around $55 per month for download speeds of around 15Mbps,11 or for 25Mbps they can be as low as around $50 per month.12
Faster plans can range from around $128 per month for download speeds of around 250Mbps,13 or as low as $99 per month for speeds up to 1Gbps.14
It’s important to remember that while some plans may be cheaper than others and provide similar download speeds, other features, such as local customer service, might not be on offer, so when you’re choosing a plan, think about what’s most important to you.
Your equipment should be supplied to you by your provider and by the NBN. The only exception is a modem and ethernet cable, where you can sometimes use your own.15 Here’s a simple summary of what you’ll need:
And that’s it. Once all these devices are connected to each other, you can access the NBN!
If your home or business is yet to be connected to the NBN, you’ll usually need to get an approved NBN technician to come and install it.21
First, you’ll need to get in touch with your Internet Provider so they can confirm which installation process applies to your premises.22
If your provider confirms that there is no NBN connection to your premises, they can then arrange to have an NBN technician call you and organise a visit to your premises to connect you.23
A standard HFC installation can take around two to four hours.24 If the coaxial cable isn’t connected to the NBN utility box, it can take up to eight hours.25
With the NBN rollout well underway, you can check to see if your premises is connected to the NBN here.
There’s not just one type of NBN connection, there’s a whole bunch of them! So it’s no wonder it all seems a bit confusing for the uninitiated.
Here’s our quick guide to help you understand the differences between HFC and other NBN connection types:
Depending on your location, the type of premises, and the number of people living there, there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing an Internet Plan that works for you. The good news is you don’t need to do it alone.
1 NBN Co – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Explained
2 As above
3 NBN Co – How your broadband gets to you
4 NBN Co – The technology that connects your premises
5 NBN Co – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Explained
6 Dodo – Choosing the perfect NBN plan
7 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Broadband Performance Data
8 Aussie Broadband – NBN HFC explained – Everything you need to know
9 As above
10 As above
11 Dodo – NBN plans ($55 plan, price checked 18/10/23)
12 Tangerine – NBN plans ($49.90 Value Plan, price checked 18/10/23)
13 Goodtel – NBN plans ($128 Blazing Plan, price checked 18/10/23)
14 Superloop – NBN plans ($99 Lightspeed Plan, price checked 18/10/23)
15 NBN Co – Preparing for the NBN broadband access network, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial, p5
16 As above, p3
17 As above, p3
18 As above, p3
19 As above, p5
20 As above, p5
21 NBN Co – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Explained
22 As above
23 As above
24 As above
25 As above
26 NBN Co – Fibre to the Node Explained
27 NBN Co – Fibre to the Curb Explained
28 NBN Co – Fibre to the Premises Explained
29 NBN Co – Fibre to the Building Explained
30 NBN Co – Fixed Wireless Explained
31 NBN Co – Sky Muster satellite Explained