Will you be affected by recent changes to the NBN?

In October 2014, many people were unsettled to see that the National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) had changed its rollout map. This resulted in many homes and businesses being removed from the initial NBN rollout and consequently, these people became quite indignant and irate.

This change took place because the new Coalition Government decided to report the true state of the NBN, rather than just wishful thinking. The problem was that NBN Co had been including areas in its publicised rollout plan that were just on paper.

No work on the NBN infrastructure had actually commenced or had been scheduled to commence in these areas in the near future, but they had still been included in the NBN rollout plan. In other words, the plan was inflated with what NBN Co wanted to do and clearly did not reflect the actual state of affairs.

So when people saw that their regions had been removed from the rollout plan, they became irate. They did not realise that the Coalition Government were now only reporting areas where crews were either actively engaged in constructing the infrastructure in the field or where it was already deployed.

This makes sense, as the rollout maps will now be updated monthly to include new areas where construction has actually commenced – giving everyone a clearer picture of the NBN rollout.

Introducing fibre-on-demand

To increase internet speeds, the previous government wanted 93% of premises to have complete fibre connections, called fibre-to-premises (FTTP), but the current government scrapped this idea as it was too expensive.

The problem is that internet speeds are limited by the the existing copper connections between a building and the broadband node. So for fast internet speeds we need to replace the old copper cables with fibre connections.

The Coalition Government however, initiated a multi-technology mix (MTM), because it is cheaper to use the existing infrastructure, than to totally replace it with fibre cables. So what we now have is an NBN which includes fibre connections to the node (mainly in new builds), as well as HFC pay TV cable and existing copper connections.

So all new work will be based on the MTM model. This means that some new premises will be given all fibre FTTP connections, but most existing premises will have to make do with copper or HFC connections to the node.

This is where fibre-on-demand options will become important for homes and business who want the faster all fibre FTTP connections, but instead have a copper or HTC and fibre mix.

However, if you missed out on a FTTP connection and want to make use of the fibre-on-demand option, then be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege, particularly if you live in less densely populated areas of Australia.

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