People in apartments could end up with a slightly better National Broadband Network service than those in houses, according to a University of Wollongong academic.
For houses, the delivery method will include fibre to the node (FTTN) and then the service will run through the copper lines to the house. When it comes to delivering the NBN to apartment blocks, the fibre will travel to a specially built node in the basement, from which the copper network will deliver to the various apartments.
Dr William Tibben, a lecturer at the University of Wollongong’s School of Computing and Information Technology, said the FTTN system would result in slower speeds as the copper network was less powerful than the fibre optics.
But he said the top floors would not get a worse NBN service than those closer to the node.
‘‘The copper does have certain limitations, but I’d imagine because of the distance – depending on how big the building is – that if it’s less than 10 floors, I would say there wouldn’t be much difference,’’ Dr Tibben said.
He said it didn’t follow that a tower would suffer signal degradation because of its height.
‘‘But even then you’d be putting in repeaters every so many floors to ensure the signal carries. The longer the line becomes the more the signal becomes degraded, but you can compensate for that by putting in amplifiers and repeaters,’’ he said.
Because of the proximity of the node in an apartment block to the tenants, Dr Tibben said it was possible they could get a better service than those living in houses.
‘‘You’re probably in a better situation in an apartment because with a home it depends on how far you are from the node, he said.
‘‘And you’ve got a nice new node [in a unit block]. You don’t know what’s been happening in the Telstra pits. They fill up with water, so it’ll probably be a slightly better scenario in an apartment building.’’
The company responsible for installing the NBN said the fibre to the basement speeds would depend on ‘‘a number of factors including their equipment, the quality of in-building wiring and copper cabling’’, according to a spokeswoman.
Though tests did show ‘‘very fast speeds’’, she said fibre to the basement was also helpful because there wasn’t ‘‘the complexity of designing or re-wiring for each individual building or unit’’.