Cyclone Debbie takes out two NBN nodes

NBN is continuing its inspection of network infrastructure in Queensland, but so far only two nodes are known to have sustained damage

One of the nodes used in NBN's FTTN rollout. Image credit: NBN.

One of the nodes used in NBN's FTTN rollout. Image credit: NBN.

Only two National Broadband Network nodes are so far known to have been seriously damaged by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in Queensland, according to NBN.

NBN announced last week that it had despatched a field team to areas in Queensland affected by the cyclone in order to assess possible damage to network infrastructure.

According to NBN, two nodes serving the Airlie Beach, Bowen, Proserpine and Mackay regions were inundated.

“No nodes have been identified so far as having suffered damage due to the high winds,” a spokesperson told Computerworld.

However, NBN is still in the process of inspecting the nodes used in its fibre to the node (FTTN) rollout. So far it has inspected 160 of 200 nodes.

“The additional 40 nodes are in locations that have proven difficult to reach due to cyclone aftereffects,” the spokesperson said.

FTTN services will still be offline in areas without power, however. FTTN involves rolling out fibre to independently powered cabinets (nodes) in suburbs, with the existing copper phonelines used to provide the final connection to a household or business.

FTTN has been a frequent target for critics of NBN’s ‘multi-technology mix’ network blueprint, primarily because of its theoretical maximum speed compared to fibre to the premises (FTTP).

However, some critics have also argued an all-fibre network may be more durable during natural disasters. FTTP also does not require the same power infrastructure as FTTN.

NBN said today that it was preparing for the effects of flooding in Rockhampton.

“We have proactively undertaken modelling on the predicted impacts to NBN services based on potential inundation at a gauge height of 9.5m for Rockhampton,” the company said in a statement.

“Within the predicted flood zone, 1171 services are forecast to be affected by floodwaters in parts of Berserker, Wandal, Allenstown, Nerimbera, Kawana and the Rockhampton CBD. Those in the predicted flood zone should be prepared to be without an NBN service for some time.”

The company has sent its Road Muster truck to the area. The truck is equipped with satellite and 4G connectivity.

Road Muster also has charging stations for electronic devices and can be used as a communications hot spot by emergency services workers and members of the community, NBN said.

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