NBN Co has sought to distance itself from claims by builders that making a home NBN-ready requires sophisticated and potentially expensive internal wiring. The comments follow reports that some families have been charged up to $1000 to have their residences wired up.
According to an NBN Co spokesperson, the company responsible for delivering the NBN does not require “expensive” home wiring to make homes in new developments NBN compliant.
Instead, NBN Co has a “minimum requirement” relating to an NBN lead-in conduit and the power point needed to power a Network Termination Device (NTD).
According to the spokesperson, in a new development the minimum requirement for ‘standard’ NBN connections was the installation of the NTD at the point where the owner/builder has installed the lead-in conduit.
“NBN Co will run the fibre through the conduit from the street to a premises connection device (PCD) on an external wall, and from the PCD to the NTD,” the spokesperson said. “NBN Co will also provide the power supply unit that houses the back-up battery, and is connected to the power socket. “In order to do this, NBN Co’s minimum requirement is a lead-in conduit from the street to the side wall of the premise through which the NBN fibre lead-in will later be run, and an internal conduit of the same size to run internally from the wall to where the home-owner wants the network terminating device installed.
“NBN Co also requires a power point to plug in the power supply unit connected to the network terminating device.” The spokesperson declined to comment on potential costs to home owners of non-standard installations, but said "non-standard" generally refers to installations at brownfields site where installers are working with existing buildings.
“A non-standard installation shouldn’t occur in a new build if a builder has followed the minimum requirements and run the lead-in conduit to a point where the homeowner wants their installation,” the spokesperson said.
“NBN Co needs the lead-in conduit installed through which to run the fibre and install the NTD, plus a power point to plug it in. The extent of internal wiring from that point is a choice of the home-owner.” The spokesperson declined to comment on specific measures the NBN Co was carrying out to protect consumers being taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators, but said it had taken action to educate the construction industry.
“NBN Co has been running seminars for builders, cablers and developers to advise them of the minimum requirements for the NBN — though home owners may choose to wire their homes more extensively to maximise use of broadband services and applications,” the spokesperson said.
The concern over the cost to consumers of NBN services follows joint committee hearings into the NBN in Sydney last week.
During the hearings, Internode warned that access to broadband services in regional areas may actually decrease under the NBN due to NBN Co's charges for retail service providers (RSPs) that supply services.
Optus said it was waiting on more clarity before publishing retail prices for services it will offer on the National Broadband Network (NBN). The company also said anti-disparagement provisions included in its agreement with NBN Co will not restrict the telco's ability to market wireless products and services.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) said it believed the NBN could deliver an increase in business for the company. However, it was wary of potential customer lock-in behaviour from competitors.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been contacted for comment.