NBN Rollout In (More) Trouble?

NBN Rollout In (More) Trouble?

A report recently obtained by Fairfax Media claims Australia’s pared-down and revamped National Broadband Network rollout, which was meant to be cheaper and faster than its predecessor, is facing significant difficulties.

The Age’s chief political correspondent, Mark Kenny, states the document reports the rollout has fallen two-thirds short of its benchmark construction timetable and costs of connecting each house or business are also increasing.

It’s claimed the cost per connection has risen from a target price of $1,114 to $1,366. At the time the report was published, 662,665 final design for connection approvals had been completed; 740,000 fewer than planned.

National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has rejected claims it may not meet its targets and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has also defended progress to date.

The NBN under Labor was meant to be under a FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) model budgeted at $44.9 billion; which now-Prime Minister Turnbull said was needlessly extravagant.

Mr. Turnbull touted a FTTN (fibre-to-the-node) roll-out, which generally runs fibre to a neighbourhood node/pillar and from there using the existing copper network to each premises.

FTTN was pegged to cost $29.5 billion, but is now approaching close to twice that price tag – more than Labor’s FTTP model; which many believe would also have been technically superior.

Some of the arguments against FTTN include most countries that have rolled it out are now replacing it with FTTP, the speed-to-price ratio is poor, it delivers wildly varying performance levels depending on location and generally quite low upload speeds.

The Age’s report will do little to hearten those still waiting for NBN access who haven’t been given a date. However, technology evolves quickly and now other alternatives are available that can provide NBN speeds or faster without an NBN connection, and with upload speeds equal to download rates.

In other NBN-related news, Via Satellite reports NBN Co. is readying for the initiation of commercial service from a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) named SkyMuster in the next couple of months. NBN Co completed trials of SkyMuster last month.

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