Fixed bandwidth speed demands will reach one gigabit per second (Gbps) by 2020, according to NBN Co chief executive officer Mike Quigley.
Speaking to members of the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia group this week, Quigley showed a graph (PDF) which represented the transition between Internet bandwidth speeds from the early dial-up days to the foreseeable future. In it, Quigley showed that the company behind the Australia-wide fibre-to-the-home National Broadband Network believed demand for bandwidth would accelerate significantly over the next decade.
"The trend has been inexorably upwards," he told the infrastructure professionals group. "We need to build this infrastructure today for when we need it."
According to the company's fibre roll-out plans, the 100Mbps committed speed will be delivered to homes and businesses through a single fibre optic cable per Fibre Access Node delivering 2.5Gbps bandwidth over a single wavelength to surrounding homes. This connection speed is expected to reach 40Gbps over coming years as the company increases the number of wavelengths traveling over the fibre optic cable.
Quigley defended the network against detractors who didn't see the need for the 100Mbps committed speeds it will potentially bring. According the NBN Co head, the idea and requirement fssor today's average 10Mbps speeds during the days of early dial-up wasn't conceivable.
"If you think we shouldn't be building the network now, if you think it's a waste of money, that we don't need it, you're betting on the orange curve," he said, referring to a graph which showed Internet speeds leveling out at ADSL2+'s current peak speeds of 24Mbps over the next 15 years.
"There are many small businesses around the country that simply don't have high speed fibre optic access available to them at the moment," Quigley said at the information session.
While NBN Co has repeatedly affirmed that it will not sell retail-type services over its wholesale network, Quigley did say that the network would deliver technologies such as VLAN tunneling over fibre to small businesses.
Both the Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott and Shadows Communications minister Tony Smith have recently called for the NBN to be scrapped, which the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy said would risk Australia's economic future.
The network roll-out was delayed recently for two weeks when workers received an electric shock from a poorly insulated power pole. Quigley said there have two serious incidents, with a total of six incident reports being filed.
"Safety is something we're taking deadly seriously in the company," he said.
The incidents highlighted the NBN Co's culture of "continuous improvement," an element Quigley hoped to continue as the company refined best practices over the eight year roll-out.
The National Broadband Network is currently being trialled at several sites in Tasmania, as well as five mainland pilot sites. In several public Network and Operations Information sessions held by NBN Co around Australia, the company detailed its fibre roll-out plans to 11 million homes, as well as plans to launch two satellites to serve 12Mbps wireless broadband to the remaining 10 per cent of Australian homes.