Queensland, ACT governments assail NBN

FTTN under fire

The governments of Queensland and the ACT have joined that of the Northern Territory in criticising the National Broadband Network rollout.

The Northern Territory’s government has called for fixed wireless instead of satellite to be used to deliver broadband to remote communities in the NT, accusing NBN’s Sky Muster service of delivering “poor performance”.

In a submission to the parliamentary committee scrutinising NBN and the network rollout, the Queensland government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation criticised a decision of NBN to remove its three-year rollout plan from its website.

“It is difficult to comment on the status of the NBN rollout due to the non-publication of the three-year rollout plan with targets for premises passed or premises connected, making it impossible to track progress against the plan,” the submission states.

“It is unacceptable that a national project is not reporting publicly on progress against the plan.”

The use of fibre to the node (FTTN) technology for connecting premises was also a sore point, with the submission stating that some end users may end up with services that cost more than ADSL2+ but don’t deliver noticeably faster performance.

The government recommends the “widespread adoption” of technologies such as fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) that “cater for exponential growth... and are not limited in their life and capacity.”

NBN is currently preparing for the commercial launch of FTTdp services (also known as fibre to the curb, or FTTC). The company expects to use it to connect around 700,000 homes and businesses to the National Broadband Network.

The ACT government criticised NBN for prioritising the roll out services in parts of Canberra covered by the existing TransACT FTTN network in the territory.

In its submission the territory’s government said it recommended the use of FTTP as a “faster and more reliable” technology compared to FTTN.

“The current FTTN infrastructure model will not deliver a sufficient platform for future economic development and expansion,” the ACT government argued.

NBN announces 2 million active connections

NBN this morning announced a new milestone in the rollout of the network: 2 million end users have signed up for services on the network.

More than 2.5 million premises that are hooked up to the network do not yet have NBN services. However, NBN said that the rate of activations had increased dramatically over the last 12 month, with 28,000 services coming online each week, up from a rate of 12,000 a week in April last year.

NBN expects to reach the halfway mark for its network rollout in the middle of this year.

The government-owned company revealed last month that the average household connected to the National Broadband Network is churning through 148 gigabytes of data every month.

NBN in February announced that all Australian households were able to check the expected rollout window and network technology for their suburb.

The submissions are available online.

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