Aussie Broadband

Monday, 18 Oct 2021 | 3 min read

nbn® HFC explained: everything you need to know

A man, woman, boy, and girl sitting on a couch looking at a laptop

There’s nothing worse than not having access to the internet – particularly during a world-wide pandemic! Unfortunately, that was the case for many Australians impacted by the HFC stop-sell earlier this year.

In February, NBN Co announced it would not be taking orders for new HFC connections due to a worldwide shortage of chipsets – COVID impacts on manufacturing were to blame. Thankfully, HFC has been available again since late July. Here at Aussie Broadband, we’ve been working hard to ensure all our customers impacted by the stop-sell have access to the internet services they need .

Now that HFC is available again, you might have some questions about how it all works, what HFC stands for, and how you can get connected – we’re here to answer all your HFC-related questions!

What is HFC?

HFC stands for hybrid fibre-coaxial. It forms part of the nbn® multi-technology mix in which premises around the country are connected to the National Broadband Network via a range of ‘in-the-last-mile’ technologies. Unfortunately, you cannot choose which technology connects your premises to the nbn® – it depends on the infrastructure in your area.

In the case of HFC, premises are connected to the network via a repurposed cable – ‘coaxial’ is just a fancy word for ‘cable’. In many cases, the cable used in HFC connections would have provided services like Foxtel to the premises. These cables are different to the copper wiring used in ‘fibre to the node’ (FTTN) or ‘fibre to the curb’ (FTTC) nbn® connections.

How does HFC nbn® work?

Like FTTC and FTTN, HFC connects to the nbn® network via legacy in-the-last-mile infrastructure – in the case of HFC, the existing coaxial cable functions as the conduit between the premises and the broader network.

Fibre optic cable runs to a nearby node, which is connected to a premise via the existing coaxial cable. This cable is then connected to an nbn® device. This device needs to be installed by an nbn® technician via an appointment.

What is the installation process?

There is two different type of installation scenarios with HFC.

1. NBN Technician will attend site and install the PCD (NBN utility box) and the NTD (NBN connection box).

Getting HFC installed at your house requires an NBN Co appointment. During the appointment, the nbn® technician will install an nbn® device inside your home.This device will be connected up to the existing coaxial cable, which functions as the conduit between the nbn® node and your premises.

The technician will connect a PCD (Premises Connection Device) on the outside of the premises and then install a HFC wall outlet on the inside of the premises, where they will connect the Network Termination Device. This device will be installed within a 40m cable run of the PCD – if you require the NTD to be installed in a location away from the front of the building then you will need to ensure that internal cabling is present.

2. We ship the customer a self-installation kit for them to carry out a self-installation.

Diagram showing a self-installation guide for a HFC nbn connection

It’s worth noting that you cannot choose which in the-last mile nbn® connection you can access at your property – it is determined by your location. If you are moving house, you should not take your NTD with you as it will not work at another address.

Is HFC a good nbn® connection?

HFC connections are generally not as fast or reliable as ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) connections, however, they usually perform better than FTTN and FTTC. HFC cables are generally capable of conducting similar speeds to FTTP connections, which is regarded as the best nbn® infrastructure. A recent ACCC report showed that HFC connections are performing almost as well as FTTP connections.

There is some variation regarding the speeds different HFC connections can conduct. Most HFC premises should be able to access the nbn® Home Superfast plan, which delivers a typical evening speed of 248Mbps*. A smaller percentage can access our fastest plan – nbn® Home Ultrafast – which delivers a typical evening speed on 600Mbps*.

Here’s how HFC infrastructure compares to the other nbn® connection types:

Graphic diagram that illustrates the infrastructure of a NBN Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection. From left to right, there is: 'Point of interconnect', 'NBN', 'Node', 'Coaxial' cable; which is shown leading into a house. Outside the house is 'NBN utility box', and inside the house is 'NBN connection box'.
Graphic diagram that illustrates the infrastructure of a NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection. From left to right, there is: 'NBN', 'Fibre' cable, 'Node', 'Copper' cable; which is shown leading into a house.
Graphic diagram that illustrates the infrastructure of a NBN Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connection. From left to right, there is: 'Fibre' cable, 'NBN', 'Fibre' cable, 'Distribution point unit (DPU)', 'Copper' cable; which is then connected to 'NBN connection device' inside the house.
Graphic diagram that illustrates the infrastructure of a NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection. From left to right, there is: 'NBN', 'Fibre' cable, 'Node', 'Fibre' cable, then 'NBN utility box' (shown attached to the property); which is then connected to 'NBN connection box' inside the property.

If you’re not sure which plan your connection is capable of conducting, give our friendly team of Aussie experts a call on 1800 767 731 or check if your eligible for the highest speed tier here.

For more information about how to set up your HFC connection, click here.

If you have any more questions about HFC nbn®, give our friendly Aussie-based team a call on 1800 767 731. Or, to view our great range of nbn™® plans, click here.

*Typical evening speeds are based on the speed test results of existing customers between 7pm and 11pm.

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