The ambition of Australia’s national broadband network (nbn) project is globally unique in scale and intent. The effort involved in establishing ubiquitous access to all homes and businesses at superfast broadband speeds - regardless of their location, across a sprawling continent cannot be overstated.
Having navigated changes to its deployment approach, nbn has now delivered superfast broadband access to over a half of the country, and is set to cover three quarters of the market by mid-2018. The issues and hurdles associated with deploying national, universal coverage have largely been addressed and the network is on track to fulfil its mass deployment objective in 2020.
nbn is a leading example of Nokia’s Intelligent Access strategy to deploy faster, smarter and better broadband networks, and flexibly and efficiently achieve broadband deployment goals. In fact, with Nokia’s help, nbn is taking this approach to all new levels and has started work on a new and expanded plan to deploy Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) to 1.5 million homes and businesses.
FTTC keeps nbn at the forefront of technology developments as it moves to accelerate new network connections and facilitate the introduction of G.fast to selected areas of its network by the end of 2018. Nokia first trialed G.fast with nbn in 2015 and has since demonstrated continued innovation capability with lab trials of technologies such as XG-FAST and universal NG-PON.
As noted by nbn Chief Strategy Officer, JB Rousellot at Broadband World Forum in 2017: “Nokia has been a great partner in terms of keeping up with trends in technologies and offering us products that are reliable enough that we can deploy them without risk in our network and at the same time keeping up with technology changes. FTTC is a good example of this, where we quickly changed around 1 million premises from FTTN to FTTC and Nokia was there with DPUs and a technology suite to enable us to deploy this. We consider them as a long-term reliable partner, providing us with big volumes of very reliable pieces of equipment and at the same time keeping up with trends and new innovations.”
Flexibility to evolve for current and future needs were recognized in a recent Ovum report, which highlighted the open pathways available for nbn to evolve its network across multiple domains. Recommendations included greater use of virtualization to add new levels of network intelligence, automation, self-optimization and fault management and programmability supporting new capabilities and services.
As one of nbn’s original and most significant strategic partners, Nokia is uniquely placed to guide nbn in its evolution and improved customer experience. Indeed, Nokia is currently working with them across multiple access network and technology domains, including how nbn can employ Nokia’s Software Defined Access Network (SDAN) solutions to achieve operational simplicity and improved customer experience. Nokia SDAN establishes a unified view of nbn’s FTTC network, allowing them to scale operations across all devices in the field and roll out services more quickly and with enhanced customer experience management.
Australia’s nbn has always been a visionary and ambitious project – arguably the most ambitious in the world – to deliver ubiquitous superfast broadband. Now, with millions of connections being made across the country, nbn is well positioned to meet its initial mass deployment goals and drive significant national benefit. According to Ovum’s Broadband Development Index for the deployment and availability of fast broadband services, Australia will rise 35 places to 15th globally between 2015 and 2021, clear empirical evidence of the positive impact of nbn.
And now, thanks to a world-leading fibre-to-the-most-economical-point strategy and open technology pathways, nbn has the opportunity to evolve its network and operations for emerging performance and customer experience expectations.
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