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NBN Looks To Faster Speeds Over Copper With XG.FAST

NBN Co is looking to the potential to deliver faster speeds over copper, with it set to launch XG.FAST broadband technology trials.

NBN Co will become the third operator in the world to trial the technology, with its engineers to work alongside Nokia over the coming weeks, Dennis Steiger, NBN Co chief technology officer, has advised via a blog post.

Steiger notes that last October, BT in the UK conducted XG.FAST trials, hitting 5.6 Gbps over 35 metres of copper in laboratory trials, with Deutsche Telekom this February reaching 8 Gbps over 50 metres of copper in the laboratory, with both tests using technology from Nokia.

“We will be testing out XG.FAST over the coming weeks to see how this technology works over a range of different types of copper cable in order to get an idea of how XG.FAST might work in the field,” Steiger writes.

“We expect to see varying speeds during the lab trial, dependent on the type of cable being used.”

The trials follow NBN Co’s trials of G.Fast broadband technology last October, with Steiger writing that XG.FAST’s arrival “should not be taken as a sign that it will immediately supersede its predecessor”.

Steiger writes that NBN Co is “in the process of organising further field trials later this year”, with it remaining “very interested in deploying G.Fast on the NBN network”.

Meanwhile, XG.FAST’s potential deployment is still some time away, with Steiger writing that it “will not be ready for commercial deployment for several years”.

“To be absolutely clear, in order to deploy XG.FAST we would need to drive our fibre deeper into the network and move to a fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdP) network architecture, with XG.FAST using only the last 30-100 metres or so of copper into a premises,” he writes.

“Our primary goal is to continue with our current deployment of the FTTN/B network in order to get Australians on board the NBN network as fast as possible, but once that is completed, we then have the potential to look at how we might push fibre deeper via FTTdP in order to deliver ultra-fast speeds via XG.FAST.”

NBN Co’s recently released Corporate Plan 2017 revealed a decreasing hybrid fibre-coaxial distribution and a growing fibre-to-the-node footprint.

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