HFC NBN - Any Experience?


Does anyone have any experience with the NBN via HFC? That’s what they’re using in my area and I’m wondering whether it’s worth the hassle of signing up for it. Do you have decent speeds? Where do the cables end up? Does foxtel use the telephone exchanges in which case it’s miles away, or are there more HFC nodes than exchanges and they’re therefore likely to be closer?

Neither me nor previous residents have had foxtel installed, so whilst there’s cable to the building there isn’t cable in my unit. It’ll be a hassle as the cable runs past my balcony and needs to get through the sliding balcony door somehow. The doors were replaced 2 years ago and the frame now takes up the entire opening wall to wall… had I known I would have had the cable installed behind the frame when they replaced the window. Not sure how they’re going to get the cable in now without damaging the window frame.



I’ve been on cable internet since 2005 (via 3 providers), with the exception of about 18 months on ADSL2. In my experience - cable wins hands down. I believe that where I am living now is not going to have the “proper” NBN connected, because they have cable instead.

Yes, they will need to run a cable into your dwelling. I’ve no idea whether they locate their nodes within telephone exchanges as well, but my understanding is that Cable speeds are not reliant on distance like ADSL technology.

Provided they can work out access, go for it!


I have a number of clients with it. My understanding is NBNco have upgraded the pits & back haul of the old Cable networks. You get a new “NBNco” branded cable modem that just provides raw IP services (if you say plug it directly into a Mac or AirPort), and also generic VoIP modem from your provider that you have to use if you want landline sadly :smirk: (i.e. phone is via NBN VoIP now).

It’s definitely better than the old Cable networks. Feels like they have done some long overdue maintenance and upgrades on the Cable networks! :+1:


Ex isp employee and HFC user here.
The HFC varies dependent on location. Some places such as the ones in adelaide have a faily decent HFC connection speed on average. E.g. On a 25/5 plan I’m hitting 23.4/4.65. But this can vary during load times. Which can drop it to 18.2/4.65.
Main issue is the load sharing. If you have a lot of people in your area and GoT or the Football is on the foxtel, expect some degradation of speeds.

As for the modem they supply. It’s just a standard Arris CM8200 usually. You will need an ISP supplied router though as apples airports do not support the VDSL2 (fttp does not have this limitation). You can still just bridge it though if you wanted to stick with apple networking.

As for plug. They will usually just use your foxtel outlet for the internal point. If you don’t have one they must supply one as it’s still under their cable route and not classified as internal cable yet. They usually drop via wall cavity or roof.

Any other questions just ask.


recently changed from adsl2 to hfc nbn. previously would download and top out at 1.4 a sec, now doing around 8.8 a sec. I’m on 100/40 speed. speed test indicated 96/38, or something around that mark.
previously had cable internet, a few years ago and only for 12 months, never recall getting anywhere near the speed I get now.


I’m on bigpond. Telstra ring up every now and again to try and get me to move NBN, but I don’t want to.
I currently get 115/2.5 Mbps.
On NBN it would be 100/40 Mbps, but to be truthful the upload isn’t that important to me (I have already backed up my photose and videos to iCloud, so now it’s incremental), and there are all these stories of suppliers not providing enough bandwidth for reasons of margins or to try and politically force NBNco to lower wholesale prices or get the government’s subsidise them, so you don’t ge the advertised speed due to congestion.


So let me get this straight - I’m on Optus 100Mb cable at moment, they are installing NBN in my area - the benefit for me is if I go to NBN I get 100Mb download, but upload increases to 40Mb? That would be great for me as I back up to the cloud a lot.


Thanks all. I’ve signed up and have a connection appointment in 2 weeks, so I’ll let you know.

I get 5-8Mbps right now, so it can only increase, right? I’ve signed up for iiNet’s middle tier which is 25-100Mbps.

Why do they still differentiate download speeds from upload speeds? Are there technical reasons, or is it marketing led to force you to a higher plan if upload speed is important.

Ha. That’s what they told me on the phone too. I explained I’m in an apartment block with no internal cable point… they didn’t seem too phased, so fingers crossed.

I’d stick with that until you’re forced then I reckon, if the news hype is to be believed and there’s a giant asterisk and small print next to the 100Mbps NBN speed and it’s often a lot less than that in reality.


Yes that is my plan.


Not sure what VDSL2 has to do with HFC?

Airport will work just fine with the Arris modem. Just plug it into the WAN port on Airport :slight_smile: No need to bridge anything unless you want to use your RSP router for some reason.

Some RSPs eg. TPG (or any of their brands, iiNet etc), Optus or Telstra don’t realise the SIP details for the VoIP services so can’t use 3rd party gear, so depends if that’s important to you or not.

Aussie Broadband have a good following on Whirlpool for good CVC management and aussie service and good prices.


I jumped on HFC NBN pretty much when it became available in my area. The nearly 25/5 beats the pants off the 3.5/0.7 ADSL i was on.

I’m with iiNet and do use their provided router, can’t be bothered with the stuffing around required to not use it. It requires VLAN support on the WAN port, so the router must support that.

Installation experience will likely depend on the installer. I had Foxtel years ago and the socket was in a dumb place, but I had a run of RG6 that was used to connect an antenna to a MythTV PVR. I asked if he would use that and he did, so it ended up where I wanted it. It was all done in about 2 hours.

The first several weeks have been really good, but now I guess more people are connecting up and get the occasional slow down or connectivity issue.

The Retina iMac connects to the WLAN at 1.2Gb/s or so though!


I said VDSL 2 I meant to say VLAN 2. Autocorrect mistake.

This thread on whirlpool basically covers what I was talking about.


It is noted that not all HFC set ups are the same and mine is based on a TPG/iiNet config. Telstra may vary.


Yup, that’s what iiNet is shipping me, can’t wait! It’s a shame as their ADSL2 naked modem works well and feels solid. I’m guessing I can stick the new modem in bridge mode and connect an airport express to it and continue as normal… let’s see…


The interface is fairly easy to set up into bridge mode.
Then just keep using your Airport as before.


We had ultimate cable from Telstra for 79/mths so got 115mbit but uploads dropped to 2 a while back. Went onto Aussie broadband last week on nbn, 15min later was active and the Telstra cable stays active too. Started at 50/20 as uploads are more useful and get those speeds. Haven’t seen congestion so far yet but we were one of the first here to get connected.


I went on Telstra cable - actually the installation story was ridiculous, involving me having to hold a cable in the pit while the dude went to my house and pulled the other end. Then he went to the pit and I had to feed about 50 metres of cable back to him. Then he cracked it with me because I wanted the cable to terminate where all my ethernet ports are under our stairs. I’m quietly hoping NBN will be able to use the internal cable through to under our stairs as Telstra installed. But will cross that bridge in a few months. Our cable is 100mb/2mb up so hoping for better uploads when we get NBN. I have heard bad installation and downtime stories from people in our area who are getting it now.


I have always wondered how the HFC NBN upgrade was supposed to work, when it comes to FTTN they physically move your copper lines from the old pillar to the new NBN infrastructure at the node. Given the all the old cables stay in place this can be done literally house by house.

As far as I knew HFC is a shared medium so I didn’t know how they were going to cut people over one by one… I also thought that they were using the Telstra cable (rather than the Optus cable) meaning that Optus customers could theoretically maintain two connections, but not Telstra customers…

Seems I’m wrong there! Does anyone know how this actually works?

Maybe this will be answered by answering the above. As I said, I thought they were using the Telstra cable meaning it would be used! If not I would hope they can look at it and just use the internal cabling rather than have to run all new stuff, I can’t imagine they are putting all new cables into every house, the point of re-using HFC was to … well… re use the HFC :stuck_out_tongue:


They use the Telstra cabling. We had it already but also had Optus cabling from when the house was built. They did nothing to my house except bring the little modem. The other two places in my complex had Optus cabling but they ignored that and ran new cables in the most stupid way possible. We saw no downtime and they give you a splitter if you want to keep your Telstra cable internet.


Interesting. So it seems that that single cable in your house can run multiple connections, so if you were in a rental two people could have their own modems in their own rooms running concurrently if they were so inclined…

In our house we have both Optus and Telstra cable running in from the street, but the Optus cable which we currently use is run across the house to the garage where my server rack lives.

Sadly I’m going to assume that when NBN comes to town that will mean that the Telstra cable is the one that starts working instead…

I’m pretty sure I know which room that terminates in being and old yellow aged faceplate with the Telstra name on it, but it’s totally useless to me since it’s in a corner of the kids rumpus room (where there is nothing electrical). I would assume it was installed when cable was new and mainly for TV.

Do NBN Co come in and test anything when they go cable or is just assumed it all works on the customer side (if the line isn’t currently active).

Of course, the reality is that even if I had to pay someone, it’s not exactly going to be earth shatteringly expensive to get it moved. Hell they could probably just cut the shiny new (and redundant at that point) Optus cable where it comes into the house and splice that into the Telstra line.


Yeah, I wasn’t going to scare @tom off… but the first place that I owned - a townhouse - had a “no cable tv” rule due to shonky installations in which cable was crisscrossed all over the roof of the complex in a really bizarre manner… Apparently it really is a matter of who you get on the day to do the installation, as some guys clearly know what they’re doing, and go about it in a logical thorough manner, and some just sling cable round whichever way they deem fit…

That said - with the house we are in now (renting), luckily the (iiNet) guy was really good, very clean instal, and put the cable exactly where I asked. My house in QLD as well had no dramas.