While there’s certainly still some conjecture about just how many Aussies are keen on the ultra-fast speeds being touted as Gigabit on the NBN network, the NBN is trialing new technology to make those speeds possible on a further 25% of the NBN network.

The old Telstra Pay TV cable which is now owned by the NBN will be the link between 25% of homes and the internet once the NBN is complete. It’s an interesting part of the “Multi-Technology Mix” (MTM) because it already offers a solid speed even before the NBN.

As a cable customer, I can get 100Mbps download speeds today, however it’s the uploads that suffer, peaking at 2Mbps at best.

Under the NBN those download speeds don’t change, but upload speeds up to 40Mpbs become possible.

In Melbourne, NBN has conducted trials of a technology upgrade called DOCSIS 3.1 – this doesn’t require the cable to be replaced, just the infrastructure it connects to.

Using DOCSIS 3.1, NBN has achieved Gigabit speeds (1,000Mpbs) in download, and uploads of 100Mbps.

The plan is to continue lab tests through to August, moving to field trials in December with a potential commercial launch in 2018.

NBN CEO Bill Morrow said “These early tests of DOCSIS 3.1 technology are very exciting.

“This is another example of the continued efforts of the nbn team to innovate and plan for Australia’s growing demands for data.

“DOCSIS 3.1 is going to be able to provide fantastic gigabit potential for end users – just as our Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network does today.

“The best news is that we will be able to bring Gigabit broadband to these premises far more quickly, cost effectively and with less disruption to end users than alternate technologies in these busy urban areas.”

Of course there’s one caveat to all of this, customers need to want it, and be prepared to pay for it, without that demand, Internet providers won’t offer Gigabit speed tiers to consumers.