NBN Co updates rollout plan to 2016



news The National Broadband Network Company over the weekend updated its rolling three-year deployment timetable, adding more than 1.35 million Australian premises to its plan for deploying fibre, wireless and satellite infrastructure throughout Australia.

The company last updated its three-year rollout plan in March 2012. At the time, it said its rollout was slated to hit some 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in Australia. However the company has acknowledged it is three months behind schedule in reaching that mark; at the end of March it had passed only 70,000 fibre premises.

In a statement released yesterday associated with a press conference held in Western Sydney by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the company noted that more than 1.35 million premises had now been added to the rollout in the updated three-year plan. The plan adds almost 190 new towns and groups of suburbs, as well as more homes and businesses in areas covered by the previous plan. This brings to 4.85 million the number of premises that will have construction commenced or where services are scheduled to be ordered by June 2016.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said: “We’re getting on with the job of rolling out the NBN in every state and territory. Our plan is to deliver better broadband to every Australian over the remaining 8 years of this 10-year build.”

NBN Co added that a growing number of Australians were already beginning to experience the benefits of high speed broadband. In areas where the fibre network has been up and running for more than 12 months, around a third of eligible families have already purchased an NBN package.

“Furthermore, a third of people with an NBN fibre connection have subscribed to the fastest speeds available. And households in the NBN fibre footprint are downloading around 50% more data than the average Australian broadband user every month,” said Quigley. “The NBN enables the whole family to go online without the internet slowing down. People can work from home as if they are in the office and make video calls to family and friends reliably. What’s more, the price of NBN packages is competitive, and NBN Co has made an ongoing commitment to reduce the wholesale cost of broadband in real terms.”

The news was released to coincide with an event in the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown, where Conroy and several Labor MPs — Michelle Rowland and Ed Husic — officially switched on the first NBN fibre services in the area. To showcase the benefits of the NBN, local school students took part in a virtual book reading with children’s author Andy Griffiths.

“Today’s reading lesson is another example of the possibilities for education offered by the Gillard Government’s world class National Broadband Network,” Senator Conroy said. “Through the NBN, location will no longer be a barrier to getting access to a great education.”

“Having NBN services available in Blacktown is great news for local families,” Rowland said.
“Around 1,300 homes and businesses can now connect in Blacktown, with another 9,300 homes and business to come online over the next few months.” Husic added: “The NBN opens up huge opportunities for our children, giving students and teachers the ability to explore new and engaging experiences through the use of internet-based learning in the classroom. I urge everyone who can access the NBN to sign-up so they can experience what the NBN has to offer.”

In a separate statement, Conroy heavily criticised the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, which shares a number of features with Labor’s NBN policy, but broadly would focus on fibre to the node-based infrastructure, replacing only part of Telstra’s existing copper network, rather than replacing the entire network with fibre, as under Labor’s NBN.

“The only risk to Labor’s NBN is Tony Abbott. Under Tony Abbott, households across the country will have their planned connection cancelled and be forced to pay up to $5,000 or be left disconnected from Labor’s NBN,” said Conroy, referring to the fact that the Coalition has proposed a user pays system which would allow those desiring fibre all the way to their premises to pay for extensions.

“There are already over 50,000 Australians using the NBN today, with NBN fibre construction commenced or complete for almost 1 million homes, businesses, schools and hospitals in over 80 communities across the country. By 30 June 2016, 4.8 million homes, business, schools and hospitals will see construction commence or be complete.”

“These are 1.3 million homes and businesses that under Tony Abbott will have the construction of the NBN cancelled, and be forced to pay $5,000 or be left disconnected from Labor’s NBN. Abbott’s plan to leave millions of Australians disconnected from Labor’s NBN will create a digital divide in every suburb.”

“Our internet needs are growing and we simply can’t rely on the ageing copper network that was designed for telephones, not high-speed broadband. By the time today’s Year 7 students finish high school, their household’s internet needs will have increased six-fold – we need the NBN to meet our needs now and into the future. The NBN will transform the delivery of services across education, health care, aged care and allow us to harness our full potential as a digital economy.”

“Under Labor’s NBN everyone will be connected at no connection cost and NBN Co’s prices in the city, suburbs or regions will be the same. The Coalition’s plan would mean people in the regions are forced to pay more for their broadband than those in the city.”

The new suburbs outlined yesterday under NBN Co’s 2016 rollout plan are as follows:


Image credit: NBN Co


  1. IF they can maintain their schedule, I’ll still be stuck on wireless in 2016 at Carrarra, a heavily populated Gold Coast suburb. I’ve had to use the slower speed and higher price of wireless since moving here several years ago and I’m not voting for anybody who spends my tax dollars on an NBN that’s only pie in the sky until it arrives, obsolete, several years down the track.
    Of course, it was nice of Labour governments to give us all those school halls, pink batts, flat-screen TVs, desalination plants, solar panels etc., but a half decent wired internet connection would have trumped the lot for me.

      • “It’s not YOUR tax dollars. It’s MY tax dollars.”

        Your both wrong, it WAS taxpayer dollars, now its government dollars.

        • “Your both wrong, it WAS taxpayer dollars, now its government dollars.”

          Err, all three of you are wrong – it’s nobody’s tax dollars OR government dollars. It is (mostly) funded by debt with a commercial return on investment (ROI) that will not only pay back the debt and all funding sunk into it, but will continue to return a profit to the government in perpetuity, which will have the potential to reduce the amount you and everyone else pays in tax.

    • “II’m not voting for anybody who spends my tax dollars on an NBN”
      You’re absolutely right, you’ll be completely unable to vote for such a party, because no party is spending tax dollars on the NBN.

      “that’s only pie in the sky until it arrives”
      That’s not what pie in the sky means.

      Fibre is the most advanced technology available and only tech which will meet out long term needs. I think you don’t know what obsolete means either.

      “several years down the track”
      Correct, it takes time to connect every single premises to a new network.

      “Of course, it was nice of Labour governments to give us all those school halls, pink batts, flat-screen TVs, desalination plants, solar panels etc.,”
      I’m going to ignore the likelihood that this is sarcasm, and applaud you for being one of the few Liberal voters who knows good policies.

      “but a half decent wired internet connection would have trumped the lot for me.”
      The NBN is more than half-decent. If you mean it’s taking too long, well like I said it takes time. If the previous Liberal government had started a project like it instead of wasting years and actual taxpayer dollars on useless blackspot programmes you might have a half-decent connection now!

      • Karl, with respect, I can’t let you get away with all that.

        “I’m not voting for anybody who spends my tax dollars on an NBN”
        You’re right and I stand corrected. I was guilty of speaking loosely, but what I meant was that the money funding the NBN could have been found sooner and used more effectively. We’re all going to pay for it, one way or another.

        “That’s not what pie in the sky means”
        Yes, it is, if qualified as it was. I’ve just confirmed that by looking it up

        “Fibre is the most advanced technology available and only tech which will meet out long term needs”
        Sorry, but I’m not as prescient as you about the technology we’ll have in 10 or 20 years. You could be right, if technology stagnates enough.

        “I think you don’t know what obsolete means either”
        Of course I do. I could tell you the Latin roots and their meaning, if I wanted. Don’t be silly!

        “applaud you for being one of the few Liberal voters”
        I’m actually a swinging voter, which is the only intelligent option. I’ve voted Labour or Green about as often as Coalition during the last 40 years.

        “If the previous Liberal government had started a project like it”
        At last we agree! It’s doubtful that we’ve ever had worse than Senator Luddite in the IT portfolio.

        • “Fibre is the most advanced technology available and only tech which will meet out long term needs”
          Sorry, but I’m not as prescient as you about the technology we’ll have in 10 or 20 years. You could be right, if technology stagnates enough.”

          Fibre has been used in the networking/internet since the 1970’s and now 40 years later it is still the fastest and most future proofed of any tech we have not had anything better in 40 years why would that change in 20?

        • ““Fibre is the most advanced technology available and only tech which will meet out long term needs”
          Sorry, but I’m not as prescient as you about the technology we’ll have in 10 or 20 years. You could be right, if technology stagnates enough.”

          You are showing your complete ignorance of physics.

          Einstein discovered that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant in 1905. In other media it is slightly slower. Radio waves in the atmosphere are slightly faster than laser beams in optical fibre.

          Some scientists have postulated that the SoL is faster in space than C (Einstein’s constant) but all I have seen in recent years is a theory that ” the amount of time the light takes to cross a given distance should vary as the square root of that distance, though the effect would be very tiny — on the order of 0.05 femtoseconds for every square meter of vacuum. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second. The speed of light has been measured over the last century to high precision, on the order of parts per billion, so it is pretty clear that the effect has to be small.”

          So it’s no wonder that no engineers are experimenting with trying to beat optical transmission as a way to transmit data. If they were they would be making noises about how they have a theory.

          Researchers love to announce vague possibilities but none is heading for Star Trek warp speed yet.

          1905 to 2013 no change except in fiction that nobody except you and Alan Jones believes.

          • “You are showing your complete ignorance of physics.”
            Then I must have forgotten a lot since I comfortably topped my Physics class at university, although the class didn’t include prediction.
            It must be wonderful to be able to predict the future with your degree of infallibility.

          • Actually most of Physics is about predicting what will happen in the world in different circumstances.

            Also you have decided not to address my point that Fibre has been used for 40 years and is still the best method we have why will this change now?

        • “We’re all going to pay for it one way or another”

          Well yes, otherwise how could it generate a return if no one pays for it? But if by that you mean tax payers will be stung in some detrimental way, you are simply speculating without any understanding for the facts.

          Customers will pay for the NBN through the cost of their monthly plans. Unlike the LNP policy, they don’t need to pay an upfront cost of connection because that cost is built into and borne by the NBN infrastructure rollout. But before you cry ‘waste’, you need to understand how the NBN is costed to understand how that last mile connection isn’t just generous, it makes good financial sense.

          Under the LNP plan, they will need to maintain the copper network (which currently costs Telstra a billion dollars a year just on essential repairs to keep phones working – Telstra aren’t doing any work keeping broadband of reasonable quality). That is a huge addition financial burden that will significantly reduce potential profitability.

          LNP FTTN NBN will also need 50,000+ powered nodes. This won’t just be a substantial burden on electricity suppliers, but all that electricity must be paid for, again increasing operational costs which reduces potential profitability.

          So you say sure, the NBN under the LNP is projected to return a more modest ROI of 3.5%, which surely accounts for those differences? But you see, the problem with the LNP modelling is the fundamental assumption that the FTTN NBN will have the same uptake rates and value as the FTTH NBN, which is simply untrue. Where people are today taking advantage of 100/40mbps plans, the most lucrative for NBN Co, they will have no option for that under the LNP FTTN NBN. Where people would have taken up entry level broadband at $30/month on the NBN, they will be unable to afford the entry level $50/month plans on the LNP FTTN NBN. You see, it is a fundamental fact if the most basic economic theory that if you have two products and one of them costs more and is of lower quality, you will have lower demand for that product. The LNP FTTN NBN will cost customers more and provide a substandard service. Fewer people will connect and they will do so on lower tier plans, substantially reducing profitability, a scenario not accounted for in LNP assumptions for their FTTN NBN.

          And then there’s the overall value of the network – the LNP are hopeful they can be simply sell the network for a profit at the end of this, but no company in its right mind is going to pay for something like this that costs more to run than it can generate in returns. You would have to pay them to take on something as risky and debt laden as that, which may be exactly what happens.

          The LNP FTTN NBN will be a costly exercise in economic mismanagement and deliberate obscuring of the facts from the public to sell their nightmare of a network as something other than reality dictates will eventuate.

          “Sorry, but I’m not as prescient as you about the technology we’ll have in 10 or 20 years. You could be right, if technology stagnates enough.”

          You don’t need to be ‘prescient’, you just have to be a little educated (which just means reading, learning and comprehending). Although ironically your statement suggests that you believe yourself to be more prescient than world experts in the field… Allow me to explain.

          Fibre optics is replacing electrical signals over wire for communications and has been doing so for decades. Why? Because light travelling through a high grade communications optic fibre has essentially no loss of signal strength or quality, compared with the very significant loss of signal through both interference and attenuation that occurs over electrical cables; because several tens of thousands of times more data can be sent through the optic fibre compared with an equivalent size electrical cable; improvements in fibre optic transmission performance continue apace with currently no end in sight, while we are nearing the fundamental physical limits of electricity over wires; the electrical cable costs more to produce than fibre; the electrical cable costs substantially more to operate and has an ongoing and damaging impact on our environment as a result of the substantial electrical draw from operating it; the electrical cable is far more prone to fault, corrosion, degradation and failure and thus costs substantially more to maintain compared with almost zero cost to maintain fibre optic cables.

          Now, take all that in. Understand that we have gradually been moving towards fibre optic replacement of electrical cables for 60 years. Consider all the R&D that has gone into these technologies (both electrical and fibre optics). Consider all the fundamental physics performed at both the theoretical level and at the very bleeding edge of human practical experimentation. Now consider that with all these hundreds of trillions of dollars, literally centuries of research by the best minds on the planet, that to date there is nothing, not even so much as a theory or an equation scrawled on a napkin, that could propose a technology that will supersede fibre optics as the optimum communications medium. Nothing.

          And then there are people like you and Alan Jones who have the hubris to believe that your uneducated opinion is worth more than tens of thousands of the world’s most brilliant minds since Maxwell revealed the inextricable relationships between light, electricity and magnetism (electromagnetism and electrodynamics) in 1861 (ok, there was a lot of work done understanding light and electricity well before this, but Maxwell defined the laws that govern electrodynamics which are still in use today). Because that is what you are saying – that somehow you are aware of a condition that will change our fundamental understanding of physics to such an extent that light will be superseded as the dominant method with which to transfer digital information. You are, in fact, claiming prescience and doing so while requiring that people take it on faith that you have such an understanding, because you can’t actually provide any evidence for your theory – you can barely articulate it.

          I’ve got a better idea. Instead of taking it on faith that such theories may be true, why not look at the science. Because you don’t have to take that on faith, you can go and check it for yourself. All the workings are there, all the models, all the mathematics and physics and quantum relationships. That’s the great thing about science – anyone can look at it, understand it and check it (if they have the inclination). And then you can come to your conclusions based on the facts and the evidence, not just a fanciful unfounded notion you had in your head.

          • Trevor.

            I agree completely with your observations. To date there is no reliable method of communication over long distance that will supersede light. Especially not with our current level of technology and even our practical developments over the next 40-50 years or so. And even if they did the fibre technology will not be obsolete, just not the best. It will still easily support our needs.

            However I am at a disagreement with the statement that there isn’t at least a theory out there that could compete.

            A few years ago when I was last subscribed to New Scientist I remember reading an article about quantum linked (or paired) particles. The basis of this was that they managed to, in highly regulated lab conditions, successfully create a quantum pair. Quantum paired particles exhibit a strange and still largely unexplained phenomena (please feel free to spell check me; science, not english, was my strong point) where two particles would share the same dimensional “spin”. This “spin” would be identical at all times to both particles and if the “spin” was changed on one, then it would instantly change to match on the other, regardless of the spatial distance between the two. By this method it would theoretically be possible to transfer very large amounts of data very quickly instantly accross ANY distance. Even one the lenghth of a universe.

            This being said, the idea is still highly theoretical, largely unexplained and lacks any real world development. There is no current effiecient method of changing the spin, capturing these particles or even deducing the relative “spin” in a dimensional sense accross long distances as there is no up or down in space and even up and down are different accross the globe in reference to the universe (world being round and all). Still its nice to know that maybe one day in the next 50 years nbn may one day be upgradeable.

            For now though. NBN quick as you please.

        • “That’s not what pie in the sky means”
          Yes, it is, if qualified as it was. I’ve just confirmed that by looking it up

          If something is achievable it can’t possibly be pie in the sky by definition, qualification or not.

          “I think you don’t know what obsolete means either”
          Of course I do. I could tell you the Latin roots and their meaning, if I wanted. Don’t be silly!

          I don’t know or have much interest in what the Latin roots are. What I do know is that by today’s definition for something to be obsolete it has to have been forced out of usefulness by either redundancy or by being replaced by something better. Fibre is the best there is so obviously can’t be replaced by something better, and I’m pretty sure telecommunications isn’t and never will be redundant.

          It’s doubtful that we’ve ever had worse than Senator Luddite in the IT portfolio.
          Do you have any basis for that?

          • If find it most ironic Karl that some people (not our correspondent per se`’) will argue that fibre “may” become obsolete, so the NBN is no good, whilst simultaneously supporting FttN, which is err fibre combined with “already” obsolete copper :/

        • “Sorry, but I’m not as prescient as you about the technology we’ll have in 10 or 20 years. You could be right, if technology stagnates enough.”

          Yeah, they’ve only managed to transfer, what, around 100 terrabits per second (100,000,000 Mbps) over a single strand of fibre [1]? That’s totally not going to be enough for 10 to 20 years, is it?! Oh, wait, it’s many times more than enough (unlike 25Mbps).


          Seriously, GPON has a pretty amazing upgrade path. With just replacing the NTU and OLT equipment (very little cost compared to installing fibre), they can upgrade it to 10 times the speed (that is, 10Gbps to a premises). The next generation after that is WDM technologies, where they will replace the splitters with wavelength splitters, which could allow 40Gbps or 100Gbps of dedicated speed to premises, again at a low cost.

          If anyone thinks that the NBN could be obsolete in the next 40-50 years, they probably don’t know anything about technology and shouldn’t be commenting on it…

          The only upgrade you can do to FTTN is to rip out all those expensive nodes and install fibre to the home – which will cost billions of dollars extra than putting it in at the start, since the network topology of a FTTN network is very different to a FTTP network, and vast portions would have to be reworked. It’s not a case of “we’ve brought fibre to the node, so we can just extend it to premises” – the design is just so different…

          Theoretically a FTTN network could be designed with a fibre upgrade in mind, but that would have very little of the cost savings the LNP are promising, and you might as well just install FTTP…

    • I feel your pain (I’m over the highway from you), but a bit surprised you can’t get ADSL2 between Nerang and Carrara exchanges. At least I can get Bigpond Cable though, just getting fed up with the price they charge for it…

      • Tinman_au,

        It’s a long story and I’ve said too much already, but I’ve been on a pair-gain line that Telstra refused to change, unless I install a wired telephone that I don’t need. Their cable passes my gate and I’ve had them out repeatedly, but they say they lack the technology to pass a 1 metre concrete path by my house. Apparently an overhead cable 1 metre long is out of the question and they don’t use concrete saws, metal conduits or a hose and running water to pass concrete paths (as my electrician did).
        I was delighted to move to a 4G modem (Optus) recently, however. Who knows what will appear during the next 5-10 years, before the NBN has to deal with my path?

        • All Telstra Wholesale customers are required to have a phone whether they want one or not while it is annoying not having a good internet connection is far worse.

    • Its a disappointing that most of the inland Gold Coast hasn’t even got roll-out plans, let alone any cable-laying action. Suburbs close to the highway are conspicuously absent from the roll-out. Places like Robina, Mudgeeraba, Worongary, Carrara, Helensvale, Elanora etc.

    • I’m sorry, but where is this flat screen TV thing?

      I’ve seen refugees entered into community housing, and they don’t get flat screen TVs.
      They don’t even have decent bedding.

      • i believe the flat tv comment is in reference to the payments handed out by the government when the GFC hit.

    • @Paleoflatus

      Telstra hs refused to help you, so as a consequence of Telstra,… you now have to use slower and more expensive wireless (your words). Then along comes NBNCo who will help you (by 2016 if on schedule – again your words) yet you blame NBNCo for your predicament?

      I really don’t understand such logic and angst towards the NBN.

      … and then I read your last paragraph.

    • “I’m not voting for anybody who spends my tax dollars on an NBN that’s only pie in the sky until it arrives, obsolete, several years down the track.”

      Sounds like you wouldn’t have voted for Labor anyway. But nice to see that you would like to have fibre.

    • but hey what can you do

      i’ll be moving into an NBN area later this year.

      sure, i had to build a house to do it, but i was going to do that anyway. :)

      • Oh yeah I would definitely be looking for a NBN ready / almost ready area if I was building / buying :)
        Too late for me now though :(

  2. Great to see Point Cook on the rollout map.
    The worst place to live for Broadband in Victoria.

  3. Here’s a question: are the FSAs broadly the same as the current exchange service areas? My house is right on the border between the 1-year & 3-year rollouts, but the exchange we connect to is well within the 1-year rollout area.

    • Yes, but it’s not just about speed, it’s about bandwidth and reliability and cost and how much power is required for the system. Fibre optics is cheap to produce, provides a protected environment where the relatively low transmission loss can be easily and accurately predicted and it is perfectly adequate to provide adequate bandwidth with scope for upgrades for the foreseeable future. As soon as you take the glass fibre out of the equation you have infinitely less control over the medium and the transmission power required goes up exponentially. If you keep a glass sheath with a hollow core you dramatically increase the cost and manufacturing complexity, to a point where it will take a revolution in manufacturing techniques for it to be considered a rival technology.

      But you’re correct that we have nothing even at a theoretical level that could rival light as a signalling method for data transmission, and it won’t just take a change in technique or experimentation, it will take a fundamental change in our understanding of the laws of quantum mechanical principles that govern all of physics to find something to supersede light (which could happen – we still lack a quantum mechanical model to explain gravity, after all).

    • “And I do mean light, not glass”
      Alan Jones has already trodden that path when he claimed that fibre was obsolete after hearing the results of German high speed data experiments using lasers but completely missed the fact they employed fibre for transmission.
      Yes light beams alone could be used but unfortunately they only travel in a straight line & tend to get lost when encountering obstructions as well as rain, snow , fog, smoke, smog, dust or even insects etc.

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