This Is Why the NBN Cables Are Green

This Is Why the NBN Cables Are Green

A couple of months back we spent quite a bit of time writing about the NBN – and fair enough, because NBN Co had just announced a lot of cool stuff, but something that kind of flew by as I moved on to other topics was why NBN cables are such a vivid green colour? Well, there’s actually an explanation.

The decision to make NBN fibre cables such a vivid green is extremely straightforward, it’s to make them visually distinct from other cables in the ground. That way, when technicians or builders go to do maintenance on, say, footpaths, cable boxes, roads, or really anything that requires Earthmoving, there’s a visual, readily understood way of recognising: ‘Oh, that cable provides internet to the houses and businesses in this area, I should probably not break that.’

We reached out to the NBN and they gave us a deep dive on the colour choice.

“One of the challenges included choosing a colour for the outer nylon sheath that would be unique to non and easily identifiable, especially when buried in dirt or alongside other cables,” NBN told Gizmodo Australia.

It’s a different colour to the fibre used by other companies. the fibre rolled out by Optus, for example, is grey and black, and it’s not uncommon to see fibre cables as blue. Not from NBN Co, though. All green for fibre optics.

The colour actually has a name, too: Haydn Green. The name derives from the technician who picked the colour, senior solution architect at NBN Co Haydn Dale (he bumped up from ‘solution architect’ back in 2022). It was initially a nickname applied to the cables from cable manufacturers, with Dale outlining to companies what dyes were suitable and what colour variants would be acceptable.

Haydn Dale standing with Haydn Green NBN cables. Image: NBN Co

“Surprisingly, this turned out to be more of a challenge than we initially thought, because we needed something distinctive and visible when dug up, but many of the bright colours were already taken by services such as utilities and other telecommunication providers,” Dale said.

Those bright green cables, on the current NBN network, are what we talk about when we say “optical fibre”, for which there is currently a length of 300,000km of such cables rolled out across Australia. The company claims it rolls out 500km more every week!

Back in April, NBN Co performed a speed test on its network, that saw maximum speeds skyrocket all the way up to 83Gbps – so fast that the tech we’d use to connect to it would probably be too slow. The NBN is looking to bump NBN 100 speeds up to NBN 500, for which you can thank these big ol’ cables.

Anyway, good shout Mr Haydn Green!

Image: iStock

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