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nbn Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC): What you Need to Know

Navigating the world of internet connectivity can often feel like wandering through a maze of jargon and acronyms. If you’ve found yourself asking, “What is HFC nbn?” or “What equipment do I need for an HFC connection?” you’re not alone. At MATE, we’re committed to de-mystifying these terms, giving you the confidence to make an informed decision when it comes to your internet services. In this blog, we take a deep dive into nbn Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)—one of the leading nbn technologies that have revolutionised Australia’s internet landscape.

What is HFC nbn?

The fundamentals

Often abbreviated to HFC, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial, is a type of connection used in the National Broadband Network (nbn) to deliver high-speed internet to homes and businesses across Australia. This innovative technology combines the best of both fibre optic cables (aka fibre optic cables) and traditional coaxial cables, resulting in a potent mix of speed, stability, and performance.

This transformative technology fuses the unparalleled speed and efficiency of fibre optic cables with the proven reliability of traditional coaxial cables. The result: superior performance that enables seamless internet usage for a variety of online activities.

Let’s take a look at the components that make the hybrid nature of HFC connections so powerful:

Fibre Optic Cables

The journey of your internet data begins on fibre optic cables. Originating from the core of the nbn network, these strands of flexible drawing glass, no thicker than a human hair, carry digital information as pulses of light. They are capable of transporting this data across considerable distances at lightning-fast speeds with minimal loss, ensuring your connection retains its speed and efficiency.

Coaxial Cable

Upon reaching a local node in your area, the responsibility of data transmission transfers from the fibre optic cables to a more traditional companion—the coaxial cable. While seemingly less advanced than its fibre counterpart, the coaxial cable is a tried-and-true technology with a stellar track record. It confidently handles the shorter distance from the local node to individual premises with ease, completing the final leg of the data’s journey. This robust cable, encased in a metal shield, ensures that your data arrives safely and reliably at your home or business, ready for you to use in your internet activities.

How fast is nbn HFC?

The promise of high-speed internet is a key reason why many users are excited about nbn HFC. Depending on the plan and service provider you choose, nbn HFC can provide theoretical download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps). Keep in mind that actual speeds can be influenced by factors like the quality of the HFC cable, distance from the local node, and the number of devices connected at once.

MATE prides itself on delivering reliable and fast HFC internet connections. We’ve made it our mission to provide unlimited data internet plans that make the most of the nbn HFC connection’s potential while also maintaining competitive prices and award-winning customer service.

What equipment do I need for HFC?

Getting your HFC nbn connection up and running requires a set of specialised equipment. Each piece plays a crucial role in transforming the internet data from the nbn network connection into a usable form for your devices. Here is a rundown of the equipment required:

  • nbn™ HFC Connection Device: This indoor connection box, which could be either an Arris CM820 or an Arris CM8200, depending on the device installed by nbn, acts as the central connection point between the nbn network and your home or office. It’s linked to the cable wall socket in your premises through the included white coaxial cable.
  • Coaxial cable: This white coaxial cable serves as the connecting link between your HFC Connection Device and the wall socket within your premises. To establish your connection, you must ensure that the coaxial cable is properly inserted into the correct ports. 
  • Power cable: This black cable, which is included with your nbn™ HFC Connection Device, ensures that the connection box has the necessary power to operate. One end connects to the power port at the back of the HFC Connection Box, while the other is plugged into a power wall outlet in your home.
  • Ethernet cable: This cable, often coloured blue, yellow, grey, or white, plays a vital role in connecting your modem/router to the nbn™ HFC Connection Device. One end of the cable plugs into the yellow port labelled UNI-D1 on the back of the nbn™ HFC Connection Device, while the other end plugs into the WAN port on your modem/router.
  • MATE-supplied modem/router: If you choose the MATE-supplied modem/router, it comes pre-configured and requires no setup. Ensure that the Ethernet cable is plugged from the UNI-D1 port on your nbn™ HFC Connection Device into the WAN or Internet port on the back of your modem. Once powered, your modem/router will start broadcasting WiFi, allowing your devices like computers, phones, and tablets to connect via Wi-Fi.
  • BYO modem/router: If you’re opting for a BYO modem/router, you will need to manually configure it with your new MATE nbn™ details. This involves plugging in the Ethernet cable into the WAN port on your modem, connecting your device to your BYO modem/router, accessing the gateway of your modem/router, and configuring the settings according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For MATE customers, there’s nothing to fret over. We’ve got you covered by providing all the necessary equipment as part of our HFC plans. You’ll receive an nbn HFC modem, along with clear, step-by-step instructions for a seamless, stress-free setup.

What is the installation process?

Commencing your transition to the high-speed HFC nbn network involves a choice between two installation paths. These options could be either a professional setup by a certified nbn installer or, if your premises is eligible, you could undertake a self-installation process. Upon reaching out to your phone and internet provider about connecting to the nbn network, they will clarify which installation process best suits your premises. Here’s a brief introduction to these methods:

Professional Installation of HFC

  • nbn utility box installation: The first step involves setting up the nbn utility box on the exterior of your home or business. If you’ve used cable network services at your premises before, you might already have this box installed, saving you time and simplifying the process.
  • Coaxial wall outlet installation: Following this, the installer proceeds to the interior of your premises to install a coaxial wall outlet. This outlet serves as the connection point between the external nbn utility box and your interior HFC connection box.
  • HFC connection box: With the outlet in place, the nbn installer then connects your HFC connection box to the outlet using a coaxial cable. To complete the setup, another cable, known as an Ethernet cable, is used to connect the box to your modem/router.

When you choose MATE as your service provider, you can leave these steps to us. Our proficient team liaises with the nbn installers to ensure a smooth and hassle-free installation, letting you enjoy your high-speed internet connection with minimal fuss.

Self-Installation of HFC

If you’re someone who enjoys the satisfaction of doing it yourself, this could be the perfect solution for you. This section will guide you through a detailed, step-by-step self-installation process, regardless of whether you’re using Pay TV or not.

Remember, not all premises are eligible for self-installation. Therefore, it’s essential to first consult with your phone and internet provider. They will assess your situation, confirm your eligibility, allowing you to confidently embark on your DIY installation journey.

Step-by-step installation of HFC without Pay TV

  1. Begin by assembling your required materials from the nbn connection kit. This includes an nbn HFC connection box, a white cable, a black power adapter, and an nbn sticker.
  2. Locate the cable wall outlet within your home. Attach one end of the white cable to this outlet, and connect the other end to the white panel on the rear of the nbn connection box.
  3. Insert the black power adapter into the corresponding black power port. The other end of the adapter should be plugged into a suitable power outlet. Switch on the power to initiate the boot-up process of your nbn connection box.
  4. Allow approximately ten minutes for activation. If you do not observe solid green lights on your nbn connection box, inspect the security of the white cable’s connection or experiment with a different wall outlet. In the case of continued difficulties, it’s time to get in touch with your service provider.
  5. Once you notice four green lights illuminating on your nbn connection box, attach the nbn sticker to your cable wall outlet to mark it for future reference.
  6. Now, proceed to connect your Ethernet cable to the modem/router supplied by your service provider (or your own router, if applicable). Insert one end of the cable into the data port labelled “UNI-D1”, and plug the other end into your router. 
  7. Congratulations, your nbn network connection is now active!

Nbn Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (hfc) What You Need To Know

Step-by-step installation of HFC with Pay TV

  1. For a setup involving Pay TV, gather the necessary materials from your nbn connection kit: an nbn HFC connection box, two white cables, a power adapter, a splitter, and an nbn sticker.
  2. Identify your cable wall outlet within your premises. It might already be connected to your Pay TV or existing cable internet. Temporarily switch off your Pay TV and detach the cable from the wall outlet.
  3. Connect one end of a white cable from your kit to the wall outlet, and plug the other end into the splitter connection labelled “IN”. The cable you disconnected from your Pay TV should be connected to an available splitter connection.
  4. Use the remaining white cable from your kit to establish a connection between the final splitter connection and the white panel situated at the back of your nbn connection box.
  5. Connect the power adapter and switch on the nbn connection box, just as you would have in the previous process, and remember to allocate around ten minutes for activation.
  6. Look for a solid green light before moving on. If you’re not getting this, it’s time to revisit your connections or possibly try a different wall outlet. If problems persist, don’t hesitate to contact your service provider.
  7. Once you see four green lights on your nbn connection box, apply the nbn sticker to your cable wall outlet to ease future identification.
  8. Finally, use an Ethernet cable to connect your modem/router to the nbn box. If all steps have been followed correctly, your nbn network is now fully functional!

The benefits of HFC

The Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network is about more than delivering high-speed internet to your home or business—it’s about enhancing your online experiences and simplifying your digital life. 

Let’s delve deeper into the benefits of this powerful technology:

High-speed internet 

First and foremost, with the HFC network, you can expect speed like never before. Harnessing the strengths of both fibre optic cables and coaxial cables, HFC promises high-speed data transmission that brings online content to your screen in the blink of an eye. Whether you’re a large family with multiple members streaming, gaming, and surfing the web simultaneously or a business that depends on lightning-fast, smooth connections for daily operations, HFC has you covered.


HFC isn’t just about speed; it’s also about dependability. The fusion of fibre and coaxial technology brings you an internet connection that stands resilient against unexpected hitches like network congestion or weather interference. With HFC, you can wave goodbye to frustrating issues related to slow or interrupted connections. So, whether you’re in the middle of an important video conference, streaming your favourite TV show, or submitting critical online work, you can trust HFC to deliver without a hitch.


The Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network is a champion when it comes to handling vast amounts of data. With its powerful combination of fibre optic and coaxial cables, HFC ensures minimal data loss and maximum transmission efficiency. This means that your internet experience remains consistent and seamless, whether you’re uploading large files, streaming 4K video, or enjoying a lag-free gaming session.


In the rapidly evolving digital age, having a future-ready connection is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity. HFC technology is designed with this in mind. It’s built to adapt to and cater to our ever-growing digital needs. As we lean more heavily into the digital realm—streaming more, gaming more, connecting more—HFC stands ready to keep pace with the future of internet usage.

Explore MATE’s nbn Plans

At MATE, we are 100% committed to ensuring that you get the best out of your nbn connection. Our range of unlimited data nbn plans are designed to cater to a variety of internet needs, whether you’re a casual browser, a work-from-home professional, or a hardcore gamer.

  • Crikey nbn 25/10 ($65/month): Designed for a small household of 1–4 individuals, Crikey provides typical busy period download speeds of 25Mbps. This plan is suitable for light internet activities such as browsing, engaging on social media, and streaming HD content on a single device.
  • Ripper nbn 50/20 ($75/month): Tailored for a medium-sized household of up to 6 individuals, our Ripper plan offers average evening speeds of 48Mbps. With increased capacity, this plan supports streaming, gaming, and all-around internet usage.
  • No Worries nbn 100/20 ($85/month): Boasting typical evening speeds of 95Mbps, No Worries is meant for larger households with over 6 users. This package is excellent for online gaming, streaming three HD videos simultaneously or a single 4K video, along with routine internet tasks like browsing, emailing, and music streaming.
  • You Beaut nbn 100/40 ($95/month): Comparable to the No Worries 100/20 plan, but with double the potential upload speed (up to 40Mbps instead of 20Mbps), this package is ideal for those who regularly upload content to platforms such as YouTube and social media.
  • Fair Dinkum nbn 250/25 ($110/month): Geared towards heavy internet users, with average evening speeds of 202Mbps, this plan covers all basic internet needs and supports simultaneous 4K video streaming and high upload speeds for seamless video calls.

The takeaway

In an age where fast, reliable internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity, understanding the technology that drives our digital lives is important. With HFC technology, Australians have access to high-speed internet connections that make streaming, gaming, and remote working a breeze.

As one of Australia’s leading internet providers, MATE is your trusted partner for speedy, affordable and reliable HFC nbn plans. Our friendly, experienced team is here to help you every step of the way—from choosing the right plan to setting up your nbn HFC connection. So, why wait? Sign up with MATE today, and experience the HFC difference.

Frequently asked questions

What should I anticipate for my installation appointment once my order has been approved?

After your service provider has verified your order, an appointment slot will be set and sent to you via SMS. Kindly respond to this message indicating your preferred time. A phone call will be made a couple of days before your installation date to ensure all prerequisites are met and there are no obstacles to site access.

Should you need to set up an appointment outside the given window or reschedule an existing one, you’ll have to reach out to your service provider.

During your installation appointment, an nbn technician will visit your premises to perform the following duties:

  • Discuss with you and decide the best location(s) for installing nbn supplied equipment.
  • Install a lead-in cable from the street to your property, if necessary.
  • Set up, activate, and test the nbn supplied equipment.
  • Clean the area post-installation.
  • Perform drilling and ducting work, as required, during the installation process. You’ll need to arrange access to your property’s communication cabinet with your building or property manager prior to your appointment, if applicable. If you’re aware of any existing nbn equipment on your premises, ensure to notify your provider in advance.

How much time will the installation take?

Typically, a standard installation takes between two to four hours. However, if there are complications or the coaxial cable isn’t connected to the nbn utility box (or ‘PCD’), it might take up to eight hours.

Is it necessary for someone to be present during the installation?

Yes. An adult over 18 years old must be at the premises for the entirety of the installation.

Can I reschedule my installation appointment?

Certainly. If you need to change an installation appointment, call your provider at least 24 hours before your confirmed slot to avoid any charges.

Please be aware that you cannot alter an appointment via SMS.

Will my installation be finished in one visit?

The goal is to complete all necessary work in a single appointment. However, due to complexities and constraints with some premises, there might be a need for an additional visit on a different day to finalise the installation.

Where will the nbn supplied equipment be installed, and can I choose their location?

Before your technician arrives, consider potential internal and external locations for mounting and installing the nbn supplied equipment (nbn connection box and Power Supply Unit). Your technician will help determine feasible installation spots. It’s crucial to discuss the location with your technician before they commence.

Factors to think about when picking the location for your nbn supplied equipment:

  • No further than 80cm from a power point—the equipment needs to remain plugged in.
  • In a cool, dry, well-ventilated spot (avoid damp or wet areas such as a kitchen, bathroom, laundry or under an openable window).
  • Away from busy places where it might get knocked or damaged.
  • Easily accessible for you to check the indicator lights.
  • In the same building as the main electric metre box or distribution board (not in a detached garage).
  • If available, you can request a free relocation of your main wall outlet as part of the installation. This will leave you with two working wall outlets. The new outlet will connect to and activate the nbn connection box, while the old outlet remains functional for future use.

You must approve all aspects of the installation before the technician starts. Take your time to consider the installation location(s). If you’re not comfortable with the proposed locations or require additional help, inform your technician that you do not wish to proceed with the installation and contact your provider to discuss alternatives.

No, setting up the modem given by your provider is generally a simple self-installation step. Your provider will provide instructions to connect their modem to the yellow connector on the back of the nbn connection box. Contact your provider for assistance with this step if needed.

What should I do before installation day if I am renting my property?

If you’re renting, you should inform your landlord about your intention to install the necessary equipment to avoid any complications. If you don’t have direct contact with your landlord, you should contact your property manager or real estate agent.

When will my service become operational?

Following professional installation, your service will be operational once the technician has finished setting up the necessary equipment. You’ll need to connect your provider-supplied modem to the yellow connector on the nbn connection box to start using your service. For DIY installation methods, your service will become operational as soon as you’ve correctly set up your equipment, including connecting your modem to the yellow connector on the nbn connection box.

If you encounter any activation issues, contact your provider for help. If you’re changing providers, please allow two to three working days for NBN Co. to coordinate with your provider to activate your service.

Will the installation of the nbn service disrupt my pay TV service?

No, it won’t. If you’re connecting to the nbn access network and also have a pay TV service (like Foxtel), your technician will use a splitter to distribute the single connection over two cables—one for your TV or set-top box and the other for the nbn connection box.

To ensure full functionality of your pay TV services, we recommend connecting your TV or set-top box to your provider-supplied modem via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Consult your pay TV provider if you require further assistance with this setup.

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