Good news, speed freaks: after the National Broadband Network (NBN) begins rolling out services based on the existing pay TV cable network early next year, it will upgrade the network with a new standard that offers a theoretical top download speed of 10 gigabits per second.
We already knew that network builder NBN Co was planning to begin a cable pilot in late 2015, with product to follow in 2016. It finalised deals to acquire the existing HFC networks from Optus and Telstra late last year.
As part of that takeover, NBN Co will eventually update the networks to the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which has a theoretical maximum download speed of 10GBps and a maximum upload speed of 1Gbps. In reality, users will see lower speeds, especially when more customers are connected, but it’s still a big improvement on the current HFC network. Part of that speed improvement will be achieved by changing the number of premises connected to an individual HFC node.
That won’t happen immediately, however. The first field trials of 3.1 will begin in the US later this year. NBN Co says it will begin the upgrade in 2017, making it one of the first commercial rollouts of the technology anywhere in the world.
In other words: if you sign up for a cable-based NBN service in 2016, you’ll initially only get the speeds already available, but you should see an improvement a couple of years after that.