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NBN looks to 'proactive' network health with machine learning


Pushing machine-learning technology and big data applications is enabling Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) to be more "proactive" in analysing and repairing network health, the company has said. Speaking during the annual CeBIT conference in Sydney on Tuesday morning, NBN executive general manager of IT Strategy and Architecture Arun Kohli said NBN is collecting real-time data from "every part of the network which is connected or can be connected". "On top of the typical applications of insights, metrics, and predictive analytics, we've gone to the next level of machine learning to be more proactive for the customer experience," Kohli said. "Also, this helps us optimise our program -- what kind of technology we have to do, what kind of issues can come up in future when we decide the upgrade." Kohli said network data already collected by NBN includes modulation stats, sync and error rates, frame loss and delay, and alarms and faults.

NBN announces AI, IoT R&D with Sydney and Melbourne universities ZDNet


The company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has announced entering three-year research and development (R&D) partnerships with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the University of Melbourne. Under what it called "major collaborative relationships", NBN said it would work with the two universities on Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), smart cities, programmable networks, data analytics and visualisation, wireless technologies, and "technology for social good" R&D projects. "These two new relationships will help NBN Co double down on our strong focus on technology innovation for customer experience and operational excellence," NBN CTO Ray Owen explained. "With these innovative institutions -- UoM and UTS -- we saw a natural fit in helping NBN Co further enable the digital economy." NBN added that the agreements are also expected to cover opportunities such as "student exchanges" and post-doctoral research collaboration by giving the universities "access to real-world telecoms network operational data".

Fifield launches 5G paper, 'confident' on NBN HFC optimisation


Australian Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has announced the launch of a new Bureau of Communications and Arts Research paper on 5G. Speaking during the CommsDay Summit in Sydney on Monday morning, Fifield said the paper is the next phase of the work being done by the government's 5G Working Group on the impact of 5G on agriculture, health, and autonomous vehicles. "Today, further to this work, I'm pleased to release a new paper that examines the potential impact of 5G on productivity and economic growth," Fifield said. "The Bureau of Communications Research paper was one of the first items considered by the working group when it met earlier this year." Impacts of 5G on productivity and economic growth: April 2018 Working paper [PDF] estimates that 5G will improve multifactor productivity (MFP) by adding between AU$1,300 and AU$2,000 in gross domestic product per person within a decade after being rolled out.

HFC was fine when Telstra had it: Penn


Telstra CEO Andy Penn has said the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network it provided to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) company is working well for existing Telstra and Foxtel services.

NBN looking into 1Tbps satellites


Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) is looking into the utilisation of satellites with 1Tbps capacity as consumer demand for bandwidth increases, CEO Bill Morrow has told ZDNet. Speaking during NBN's first-quarter financial results call, Morrow said NBN has many options for evolving its network, with the company still seeing satellite as its best solution for providing connectivity to those living in regional and rural Australia. "When we think about those people in the very remote parts of the country, we still do not see other technologies than satellite as the most optimal solution, so we stay on top of the current developments of technology that are satellite related," Morrow told ZDNet. "For example, we know that there are terabit-per-second-capability satellites that are being built and planned to be deployed in a similar geostationary orbit path as what we have for our satellites, so we try to examine at what point would we think that consumer demand would be necessary to justify deploying those other satellites. "There's been no decision to go forward, but we watch it closely."

ACCC sees NBN hope in tiny CVC increase


The September 30, 2017 edition of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report has seen the light of day, and the ACCC is welcoming what it sees as increased competition and encouraging signs in connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) growth. ACCC Chair Rod Sims latched onto the report showing the average National Broadband Network (NBN) CVC bought by retailers per users increasing from 1.09Mbps to 1.11Mbps. "This is encouraging, as provisioning adequate CVC is essential if RSPs are to ensure households and businesses can get the speeds they are promised," Sims said. Pointing to more retailers connecting to a higher number of NBN points of interconnect, Sims said it is a "clear indication" of increased competition. "Some of the small players are experiencing rapid growth, and this shows promise for future competition," he said.

Telstra confident its CVC robots can clear ACCC capacity standards


Telstra is handing the allocation and purchasing of its NBN capacity on a weekly basis, thanks to the introduction of automated bandwidth monitoring. Speaking at Telstra Investor Day on Thursday, Telstra director of networks Mike Wright said the company has known for 19 months how much bandwidth users are receiving. "Every week we're measuring the traffic on the CVC interfaces, we're applying our own statistical analysis to it, and working out what we need to buy for the next week. That goes into the network that week, and next week we do the same process," he said. "What we have done is by putting robots inside the gateways, and some physical robots, we can now measure the experience end-to-end.

NBN launches Tech Lab to collect data and resolve connection issues


Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) company has announced its new Tech Lab, which will utilise big data, graph technology, and machine-learning capabilities to help solve and map end-user connectivity issues. The NBN Tech Lab, once complete, will collect and collate data on user experience via voluntary surveys to be handed out to end users, enabling NBN to detect patterns in problems and user preferences. It will also integrate all of NBN's current fault-reporting techniques, including the information generated by truck rolls. "While for the majority, the installation experience is positive, when faults do occur, NBN's Tech Lab will help the team determine whether a fault can be dealt with remotely and immediately, or whether a field technician needs to visit an end-user home to resolve the fault," NBN explained on Thursday morning. "The Tech Lab will also help NBN better understand the key factors that drive dissatisfaction and address them so people have a better experience."