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Australia - Broadband - HFC Cable Networks


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Australia - Broadband - HFC Cable Networks

In recent years Telstra and Optus have upgraded their cable networks with DOCSIS3.0 technology, providing data at up to 100Mb/s. This investment has enabled the providers to meet consumer demand for faster broadband services. The roll out of the National Broadband Network under the December 2013 strategic review has placed a greater emphasis on existing hybrid fibre coax plant being part of the national broadband plan. As such, many customers in NBN areas will not be migrated to the new fibre network, as had been anticipated under the former NBN plan which had envisaged a near-national FttP footprint.

The other main cable player is TransACT, operating a hybrid fibre coax network in Ballarat, Geelong and Mildura. Since the acquisition of TransACT by iiNet in late 2011, these networks have been integrated in the latter's company's overall infrastructure plans.

In early 2014 there are fewer than one million cable broadband subscribers, accounting for less than to 8% of the total broadband market in Australia. However, most of these subscribers are high-end users providing relatively high ARPU for the cablecos.

This report provides an overview of the HFC networks run by the key operators. It also gives background information on technologies, including the development of the DOCSIS3.1 standard, together with market statistics from a range of sources. The report assesses the potential market growth of HFC networks in the years leading to the deployment of the National Broadband Network.

Key developments:

NBN transition developments; fibre; DOCSIS standard upgrade to 3.1; calls for HFC wholesale access services; ABS data to December 2013; analysis of the NBN strategic review; market developments to April 2014.

Companies mentioned:

Companies mentioned in this report include AUSTAR, Optus, FOXTEL, Telstra, Neighbourhood Cable, TransACT.


1. Synopsis
2. Technology
2.1 Hybrid fibre coax (HFC)
2.2 The DOCSIS standard
2.3 The next development for DOCSIS
3. Market statistics and estimates
4. Austar United Communications Ltd (AUSTAR)
4.1 Overview
5. BES/e-wire
5.1 Overview
6. TransACT
6.1 Overview
7. Telstra
7.1 Background information
7.2 Network upgrades
8. Optus
8.1 Overview
8.2 Network upgrades
9. Industry analysis
9.1 Do we need infrastructure-based competition?
9.2 Moving on from the HFC of the past
9.3 No long-term future in HFC cable broadband
9.4 HFC decommissioning as NBN rolls out?
9.5 From HFC to Fibre-to-the-Home (FttP)
9.6 Open access policy
10. Related reports
Table 1 Cable broadband subscribers by major operator and annual change 2002 - 2014
Table 2 Cable subscribers versus other broadband technologies 2009 - 2013
Table 3 Optus financial data 2011 - 2013
Table 4 Optus financial data by sector 2009 - 2013
Table 5 Optus on-net broadband subscribers 2009 - 2013
Chart 1 Overview of cable broadband subscribers by operator and annual change 2002 - 2013
Chart 2 Overview of cable subscribers versus other broadband technologies 2009 2013
Exhibit 1 HFC network status

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