The NBN has hit a major milestone, while one provider is offering a free upgrade to 1Gbps for a year.
NBN Co’s target of connecting eight million homes and businesses by 2020 is looking achievable with the news that five million have now been hooked up and that connections are currently running at the rate of one million a quarter.
“NBN [Co] is very proud to reach yet another key milestone thanks to the outstanding work and pace set by the team at NBN [Co] and our delivery partners,” said chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan.
The rollout rate is currently over 60,000 premises a week, he said, but in one particular week saw an impressive 140,000 connections, “the equivalent of lighting up Canberra”.
The acceleration in metro rollouts is reflected by the fact that half of connected premises are now served by FTTN (fibre to the node) and HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial). Much of the early rollout involved the fixed wireless part of the network that serves regional and rural areas that lack the density needed to justify the cost of fixed line technologies, but are not so remote that satellite service is necessary.
Of the five million connections, less than half – 2.2 million – are actually in use. That could be a good thing, because it suggests households and businesses aren't rushing into contracts but are instead taking time to investigate the offers available from various retail service providers (RSPs).
According to NBN Co, around 130,000 new premises are signing up with retail service providers each month.
Wollongong users get free 1Gbps upgrade for a year
Meanwhile, NBN RSP MyRepublic has announced it will provide its existing customers in parts of Wollongong with a free upgrade to 1Gbps for one year, and will provide “a limited number of new customers in Wollongong” with unlimited broadband on the 1Gbps speed tier for $129.99 per month on a 12-month contract.
The company said it will “heavily subsidise” these customers in order to demonstrate the benefits of 1Gbps fibre services and to “show Australians hunger for reasonably priced access to higher speed, premium fibre products”.