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It takes advantage of existing coaxial cable connections, which are currently used to deliver both pay TV services and high-speed broadband internet.
HFC is one of the NBN’s Multi Technology Mix (MTM) technologies.
It starts with a high-capacity fibre optic line, which is laid to a central 'node' in the local neighbourhood. Coaxial cable continues the internet connection from the node to the customer's premises. Like Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB), this cable uses copper to convey the signal, but is insulated to prevent interference from outside signals.
Between 21% and 27%1 of Australian premises will use HFC to connect to the NBN. It should be noted that having an existing cable connection is not a guarantee that NBN HFC will be available in your area.
Like other types of fixed-line NBN, HFC can offer download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds up to 40Mbps. Your actual speeds will be affected by many factors, including the type of internet plan you choose. Most providers can offer maximum download speeds of 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps.
Following planned network upgrades and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) NBN Co says they have the potential to deliver gigabit-speed internet to around eight million Australian premises by 20202.
When you connect to the NBN through HFC, you'll get an NBN utility box that sits outside the premises. You'll need an NBN connection box or cable modem inside your home. Both utility and connection boxes are supplied by the NBN. You can plug the connection box into your own equipment, which in most cases will be a wireless router.
Most providers will include a free router in their 24-month NBN HFC plans. If your coaxial connection is already used to deliver pay TV or non-NBN cable internet, you'll need a cable splitter to continue using these services.
NBN HFC plans are priced similarly to other fixed-line NBN solutions. With network upgrades on the horizon, HFC has the potential to deliver similar levels of performance to pure fibre optic options such as FTTP.
1. NBN co.
2. NBN Co.