news The Federal Government has announced that the National Broadband Network (NBN) has now passed the 1 million customer mark, with 1,003,474 subscribing customers as of 19 May.
According to a statement from Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield, the figure “smashes” the NBN’s connection targets for 2016, arriving two months ahead of schedule.
The Minister credited the hard work of NBN Co’s management, 5,000 employees and thousands of construction contractors for the achievement, adding: “The NBN has consistently met its operational milestones over the past eight quarters and has already exceeded its corporate plan revenue goal.”
In less than a year, the NBN has more than doubled its reach from 1.16 million premises in July 2015 to more than 2.5 million today, according to his statement.
“The Coalition’s management of the NBN will see the network completed six to eight years sooner than under Labor’s plan and at around $30 billion less cost,” said Fifield.
“Under the former Labor Government, the NBN rollout was so badly managed that by mid-2013, the rollout had fallen 85% short of the planned target and NBN contractors had downed tools in four states,” he said.
“Under Labor, $6.5 billion was spent over four years to connect just 51,000 NBN users,” Fifield added.
Despite the new figures, though, the Government has recently conceded there are issues with how the NBN Co will fund the remainder of its rollout and operations through to 2020, with public sector funding drying up and uncertainty over the company’s ability to raise private financing.
The new customer figures come just days after controversial police raids on Labor Party staff members in search of leaked internal documents.
The Australian Federal Police raids have been criticised as an “attack on press freedom” by Australia’s peak media union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
One or more Labor staffers now face the possibility of two years in jail for receiving leaked NBN documents and breaching subsection 70(1) of the Crimes Act 1914.
Image credit: NBN company