Australia's NBN Co plans FTTB trial

Dylan Bushell-Embling
Australia's NBN Co has announced a pilot trial of Fiber to the Building (FTTB) technology, as it seeks to fulfil the new government's remit of speeding up and cutting the costs of the National Broadband Network rollout.
State-owned NBN Co has issued expressions of interest to ISPs offering retail NBN services to participate in a FTTB trial that will commence in 2014.
The trial will involve rolling out FTTB to up to ten large office complexes and apartment blocks comprising up to 1,000 individual home and office premises. NBN fiber will be connected to the buildings' existing wiring via a central node. The pilot will run for a three-month period.
NBN Co CTO Gary McLaren said the trial will help the company determine the optimal mix of technologies for the NBN.
“Our goal is to ensure that all Australians can have access to very fast broadband as soon, as cost-effectively and as affordably as possible. The pilot is an essential step along the way to determining the right mix of technologies to do just that.”
The new Coalition government has launched multiple reviews of the NBN project, and has tasked NBN Co to explore alternatives to the FTTP technology that was to be used to connect 97% of Australian premises.
Last week, Australian competition regulator ACCC approved NBN Co's proposed A$9 million ($8.5 million) acquisition of the FTTP network owned by Canberra-based ISP TransACT, a deal set to connect another 13,000 households to the NBN.