The future of fast broadband is coming to Australian apartment complexes and in conjunction with NBN Co, we have been busy piloting high speed fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) technology right here in Melbourne.

NBN Co’s new technology is set to become one of the core components of the NBN Co’s network rollout and we are excited to be at the forefront of its delivery.

FTTB is where fibre is run to a large office building or apartment block and connected to NBN equipment in the comms room to enable high-speed broadband for end users in the building. From the comms room the existing in-building wiring is used as the final connection to the individual homes or businesses.

We’ve been piloting the technology with over 30 customers in Carlton. To date, we’ve clocked up over 10,000 testing hours. The results are really encouraging.

Not only have they seen superfast speeds, averaging over 80Mbps for downloads and over 30Mbps when uploading under trial conditions, but those speeds have been consistently available, which is crucial. Some participants have reached up to 98 Mbps downstream.

For one of our pilot customers, Joseph Gerace, FTTB is already changing the way he does business.

Joseph has been on our NBN pilot since May 2014. His store, Forza Italia, is a leading retailer for official licensed sports brands including Ferrari. It’s situated in the street level store of one of our trial apartment sites.

Speed, and just as importantly consistency of speed, has given Forza Italia the confidence to digitalise.

The business has installed an interactive cloud based task management system that gives staff the freedom and flexibility to work remotely if they can’t make it into the store.

The reliability of the connection has allowed them to better manage his online sales channel and extend sales to regional, national and international markets.

It has opened up the opportunity to host high resolution video calls over Skype on multiple screens with suppliers all around the world – without any dropping out or buffering during the trial.

It’s also exciting to see that the NBN enables the use of next generation point of sale equipment, including a fully integrated Wi-Fi EFTPOS terminal and real time stock control operated via a tablet. It’s resulting in staff spending less time at the cash register or out the back, and more time on the floor helping customers.

The Forza Italia story is that this is just one of 30 in Melbourne. Across the board, we have received great feedback from our pilot customers, so we’re looking forward to the roll out this year, when 30 positive stories turn into hundreds of thousands.

Note: Speeds obtained under trial conditions may not be what is experienced by customers after commercial launch.