NBN rollout rolls on slowly

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 30 Maret 2013 | 19.55

THE rollout of the National Broadband Network has passed fewer than 2000 Tasmanian homes in the past nine months but the company behind the project says it is on track.

Last week NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley warned the rollout was behind schedule on a national basis.

However, a spokeswoman for NBN Co said the company was on its original schedule to rollout fibre past 200,000 homes by the end of 2015.

In June 2012 fibre had passed 12,800 homes in Sorell, Scottsdale, Smithton, George Town, St Helens, Triabunna and Kingston Beach.

By March 2013 the figure has increased to 14,700 homes with the inclusion of South Hobart and areas in Launceston.

Visionstream Australia has been awarded a $300 million contract to replace copper telephone lines with the high-speed fibre optic broadband network in Tasmania.

Visionstream expects to employ 800 people at the height of the rollout.

An NBN spokeswoman was unable to supply current figures on the uptake in Tasmania. Last June it comprised 700 people using fibre and 530 using fixed wireless broadband.

Last week Mr Quigley announced a 44 per cent reduction in the forecast number of homes NBN Co plans to pass by June 30 -- 151,000 fewer than it forecast last October.

"At the end of December 2012 construction had commenced on the rollout to a further 68,000 premises in Tasmania," the spokeswoman said.

"Construction is scheduled to start on a further 73,400 more premises by the end of this calendar year."

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor said many people had not changed over to NBN fibre yet because of commitments to their current provider.

"The main reasons are that businesses are being told they can't use it, there have been bad install experiences of friends and a lack of awareness," he said.

"It would help the NBN Co case if they could communicate more specific delivery dates for each area and to say why any specific area is being delayed.

"There are factors such as the number of pits, length of pipes to replace, asbestos removal works and other complications affecting the rollout."

Mr Connor said that anyone who wanted a fixed-line service in future would have to use the NBN because copper wires were being cut off at the end of 2015.

eThe federal Coalition has a plan to roll out fibre to the node -- a roadside cabinet -- rather than to homes.

nicholas.clark@news.com.au


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