HFC NBN Explained

Find out more about HFC connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds.

Written by 
Savvy Editorial Team
Savvy's content writing team are professionals with a wide and diverse range of industry experience and topic knowledge. We write across a broad spectrum of finance-related topics to provide our readers with informative resources to help them learn more about a certain area or enable them to decide on which product is best for their needs with careful comparison. Meet the team behind the operation here. Visit our authors page to meet Savvy's expert writing team, committed to delivering informative and engaging content to help you make informed financial decisions.
Our authors
, updated on February 13th, 2024       

Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.

Internet Banner: Person sitting on a person's back while holding a tablet

HFC is a unique technology within the National Broadband Network, one of seven currently available in Australia. If you have a HFC connection available at your address, it’s essential to understand its ins and outs before you dive into buying your NBN plan.

In this comprehensive Savvy guide, we'll break down what HFC NBN is, how it differs from other NBN technologies and what you can expect in terms of speed and reliability. Read more with us today!

What is a HFC connection for the NBN and how does it work?

HFC stands for Hybrid Fibre Coaxial and is one of the technologies used to deliver the National Broadband Network (NBN) to homes and businesses in Australia. It combines fibre optic cables and coaxial cables, often the same as those used for pay TV, to transmit internet data.

Here's how it works:

  1. NBN Point of Interconnect: the network starts with a fibre optic cable which runs from a Point of Interconnect (essentially a hub) to a nearby node.
  2. Coaxial cable to your home: from the node, coaxial cables are used to transmit data to your home. These cables are capable of carrying high-speed internet signals.
  3. Two-way data transfer: HFC allows for two-way data transfer. When you request a webpage or stream a video, your modem sends the request via the coaxial cable to the node or basement, where it's then transferred over the faster fibre optic backbone of the NBN and back again.

In summary, HFC NBN uses a combination of fibre optic and coaxial cables to bring a high-speed internet connection to your home. It's a reliable and efficient technology, particularly if you're in an area where HFC infrastructure is already in place. If you currently have a pay TV subscription or had one previously, you’re likely eligible for a HFC NBN plan through the existing infrastructure.

How is my HFC NBN connection installed and what equipment do I need?

The installation of an HFC NBN connection typically involves these steps:

  1. NBN Connection Box: an NBN technician will visit your premises to install an NBN Connection Box, which acts as the interface between the NBN network and your home. This box is usually installed within the home or business premises, plugging into an existing coaxial outlet.
  2. NBN Utility Box: you’ll also need a Utility Box to be installed if you’re accessing the NBN via a HFC connection. This is placed on the outside of your house and should be installed when the NBN was/is rolled out in your neighbourhood.
  3. Connecting the router: with the Connection Box serving as the modem, you'll need a compatible wireless router to connect to it in order to distribute your connection to your various devices. This can either be included for free or an additional charge by your provider or purchased independently (such as from a previous connection).
  4. Activation: after the physical installation, your service provider will activate your NBN connection, which may take a few hours to a day. You'll receive instructions on how to set up your Wi-Fi network and devices.
  5. If you’re still using pay TV: in the event your pay TV subscription, such as Foxtel, is still in use, you’ll be provided with a splitter to divide your coaxial wall outlet so you can plug in both your internet and TV at the same time.

The process is relatively straightforward, with NBN technicians usually responsible for the installation to ensure everything is set up correctly.

How fast are HFC NBN connections?

HFC NBN connections are known for their high-speed capabilities. Alongside Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connections, they’re the only connection type which can support speeds beyond NBN 100, meaning you may be able to choose an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan if you have this type. However, not all HFC connections are capable of supporting these speeds, so it’s worth checking before you commit to your plan.

It's important to note that the actual speeds you experience can vary due to factors like network congestion and your service provider. To access the best speeds, ensure you choose an appropriate plan and have a capable Wi-Fi router to handle the speed offered by your plan.

In summary, HFC NBN connections can offer fast and reliable internet speeds, making them suitable for a wide range of online activities, from casual browsing to demanding tasks like online gaming and 4K video streaming.

Common questions about HFC NBN connections

What’s the difference between HFC and cable internet connections?

HFC and cable internet connections are similar in that they both use coaxial cables for the final connection to your home. However, there are key differences:

  • Infrastructure ownership: HFC NBN is owned and maintained by the National Broadband Network in Australia, whereas cable internet is provided by private companies.
  • Technology: HFC NBN uses a combination of fibre optic cables and coaxial cables, while traditional cable internet relies solely on coaxial cables.
  • Speed and capacity: HFC NBN has the potential to offer higher speeds, especially during peak times, due to its upgraded infrastructure. Traditional cable internet speeds, while still much faster than ADSL plans, cap out at around 100Mbps.
  • Availability: HFC NBN is more widely available in Australia as part of the NBN rollout, while cable internet is only available through one provider (as of September 2023) and in areas where the NBN is yet to be rolled out.
Can I install a HFC NBN connection if I don’t have a pay TV subscription?

Yes – you can install an HFC NBN connection even if you don't currently have a pay TV subscription. HFC NBN uses the existing coaxial cable infrastructure, which may have been previously used for pay TV services. However, this infrastructure will need to be present to establish a HFC connection, meaning you or a previous owner of your home or business will need to have had pay TV at some point.

What happens to my connection in an NBN outage?

During an NBN outage, your internet connection will be disrupted. The exact duration of the outage and the cause can vary. To address this:

  1. Check for outages in your area: use an online outage checker, look up your internet service provider's website and search their social media for outage information and updates.
  2. Restart your modem: to rule out the possibility of a modem issue, it’s worth resetting your modem and seeing if this restores your internet.
  3. Contact your provider: if the outage persists or if it's a widespread issue, contact your NBN service provider for assistance and updates on when service will be restored.
  4. Look for alternative connections: if you have a mobile data plan or a mobile hotspot, you can use your smartphone or mobile device to stay online. Alternatively, you may wish to move to a public Wi-Fi network.
Can I switch to a different NBN connection type?

Switching to a different NBN connection type and the cost of doing so depends on the availability of that type in your area. NBN Co has announced its intention to upgrade more homes around Australia to FTTP connections for free, but you can also elect to do so on a paid basis through its Technology Choice program. However, changing the underlying connection technology may cost a significant amount of money and, in the case of HFC, may not yield wildly improved speeds from what you’re already capable of receiving.

Helpful guides on internet plans

Internet Banner - A family sitting on a couch together using a tablet

FTTC NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTC connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. FTTC is one of...

Internet Banner - Young woman sitting at a table on her tablet

Cable Internet Plans

Find out more about cable internet plans, how they work and what your alternatives may be with Savvy. Cable internet...

Internet Banner: Person sitting on a person's back while holding a tablet

HFC NBN Explained

Find out more about HFC connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. HFC is a unique...

Internet Banner - Young couple sitting on the couch together looking at a tablet

What is a Mesh Network?

A mesh network could be the solution if you’re experiencing internet dead spots in your home or business. You might’ve...

Internet Banner - A man and woman sitting on a couch looking at a tablet

FTTN NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTN connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. There are various connection...

Internet Banner - Couple sitting on the couch looking at a tablet

What is the NBN?

The NBN is the newest fixed line internet infrastructure being rolled out by the Australian Government, transforming the online experience...

Internet Banner - A young woman using a tablet computer in a cafe

What is 5G?

5G is the latest in mobile technology available in Australia, providing better reception and faster internet. 5G is becoming more...

Internet Banner - Man smiling at his tablet while his partner lies on the couch behind listening to music

FTTP NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTP connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. FTTP is the most...

Internet Banner - Woman sitting on the couch next to her dog conducting an NBN check

NBN Check

Find out how to check the status of your NBN connection and its availability in your area. If you're keen...

Compare internet plans with Savvy

Regardless of whether you're looking for an internet plan for a one-person household or for your medium to large business, you can compare a range of offers from leading Australian providers side by side with Savvy. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today!

Disclaimer:

Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.

$50 Woolworths eGift card terms and conditions
  • The Promoter is CIMET Sales Pty Ltd ABN 72 620 395 726. Level 18/570 George Street Sydney, NSW 2000. Econnex Comparison is powered by CIMET.
  • Promotion available on qualifying Broadband Plan purchases between 1st February 2024 to 31st July 2024 (“Promotional Period”) and may be withdrawn at any time by Econnex Econnex Comparison retains the right to change or alter the terms of this offer.
  • You (“Customer”) will receive $50 worth of Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards when you purchase a Broadband Plan via Econnex Comparison, subject to these Terms and Conditions.
  • Information on how to qualify to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card forms part of these Terms and Conditions. Participation in this promotion is considered acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
Eligibility requirements
  • To be eligible to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards, you must purchase the Broadband Plan via the following link: https://app.econnex.com.au/broadband?rcCode=90709
  • You must switch to a new Broadband retailer. Customers who change plans via Econnex but remain with the same retailer will not be eligible.
  • Your Broadband Plan must be connected within 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Eligible Recipients will receive the applicable Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards by email up to 120 days after purchasing the Broadband Plan.
  • Econnex Comparison is not liable if any Customer details supplied are incorrect.
  • Econnex Comparison is providing this offer in conjunction with the retail services offered on its platform.
  • Details of Econnex Comparison retailers can be found at the following link: https://www.econnex.com.au/approved-providers-list
  • You must be an Australian resident aged 18 or over. Econnex Comparison may request you to provide a copy of your valid ID for identification purposes.
  • The Promoter reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards and Customer’s information (including the Customer’s identity, age and place of residence) and reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who the Promoter has reason to believe has breached any of these Terms and Conditions, tampered with the claim process, or engaged in any unlawful or other improper misconduct calculated to jeopardise fair and proper conduct of the promotion.
  • Errors and omissions may be accepted at the Promoter's discretion. Failure by the Promoter to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.
  • When the request for a connection cannot be completed, is unsuccessful, or a request is made for the cancellation of your Broadband Plan within the first 30 days from the date of connection, you will not be eligible to receive any gift card.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card is subject to any issuer Terms and Conditions.
  • Any ancillary costs with redeeming the gift cards are not included.
  • No responsibility is taken for any lost or stolen Woolworths Store Bonus eGift Cards.
  • If the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are unavailable, the Promoter reserves the right to substitute the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards to a card with equivalent value, subject to directions from a regulatory authority.
  • If the offer is not able to be conducted as reasonably anticipated, due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter, including but not limited to: technical difficulties, unauthorised intervention or fraud, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to the extent permitted by law: a. to disqualify any individual; or b. to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the promotion, as appropriate.
  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer from Econnex
Econnex Comparison Terms and Conditions.
  • Econnex Comparison will transfer your Broadband Plan request and details to the selected retailer.
  • Econnex Comparison may contact you to clarify any details or discrepancies in the information you provided for your Broadband Plan purchase.
  • To cancel your request, you will need to contact the Broadband Plan retailer and inform them of your decision.
  • Please note that we do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands.
  • If you have any inquiries regarding your Broadband Plan purchase, you can contact us directly at 1800 013 000 or email us at [email protected]
  • Econnex Comparison Terms and Conditions: https://www.econnex.com.au/terms-and-conditions/
  • By participating in this promotion, the individual authorises the Promoter to collect, hold, use and disclose their personal information in accordance with Econnex’s privacy policy, including providing such information to third parties such as contractors, service providers, suppliers and where required or authorised by law. Econnex’s Privacy policy can be found at https://www.econnex.com.au/privacy-policy
  • Econnex may, unless the individual tells us not to, use the information to communicate with them by mail or electronically by, for example, email, phone, SMS to issue direct marketing and commercial communications telemarketing calls.
  • To opt out of direct marketing access, update, or correct personal information you may contact us at [email protected]
Other Information
  • Woolworths Group Ltd ABN 88 000 014 675 is the issuer of the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card but is not the Promoter of the offer nor responsible for fulfillment of the offer terms.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards have a fixed term expiry as displayed on the front of the gift card and are redeemable in-store and online at Woolworths Supermarket stores only.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are valid for 3 months from the issue date and Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are not reloadable or redeemable for cash.
  • Econnex Comparison and Woolworths will not replace, expired, lost, stolen, or deleted Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards.
  • Check your Spam/junk email if you have not received a Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card in your inbox within 120 days after activation of your Energy, Electricity or Gas Plan.
  • Woolworths Store Bonus eGift Card is sent via email from [email protected] or [email protected]
  • For enquiries related to the application, gift cards, or adding or removing any details on the application, please contact the Econnex Comparison at 1800 013 000 or e-mail us at [email protected]
  • For the balance and transactions history on this Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card and Woolworths Terms and Conditions visit https://woolworths.com.au/giftcards or call 1300 101 234.