NBN construction will take aroun a decade to complete

NBN Co, the firm mandated by the Australian government to design, build and operate the country’s new fibre-based broadband network, has disclosed details of the first stage of its rollout plan.

Over the next three years, construction of the network’s fibre optic component will get underway or be completed in areas containing 3.5 million premises in 1,500 communities in every state and territory in Australia – up to one third of the nation’s homes and businesses.

This includes the 750,000 premises where construction work is underway or set to begin this year, including the eight early locations where the fibre network is already in service.

The expansion of construction follows the coming into force at the start of this month of definitive agreements between NBN Co. and dominant telco Telstra, which gives NBN Co. access to Telstra’s existing infrastructure, such as its underground ducts and exchanges.

The entire construction project is valued at A$38bn ($39bn) and is expected to take around a decade to complete, with 93 per cent of premises receiving broadband via fibre optic cable, four per cent via fixed-wireless and the remaining three per cent by satellite.

Once it is completed, NBN Co. plans to offer wholesale access to the network, delivering speeds of up to 100Mbps to 93 per cent of Australian premises.

The network has so far been rolled out and activated in areas passing 18,200 premises nationwide (three sites in Tasmania and the five mainland First Release sites).

The project hit the headlines earlier this week after it was confirmed that Chinese equipment vendor Huawei has been blocked for political reasons from bidding for any contracts related to the project (more details here).

Tony Brown, senior broadband analyst for Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of Telecoms.com), discusses the ramifications of this decision at length here.

An interactive map detailing progress of the National Broadband Network’s rollout can be viewed here


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