Quigley disputes internal rewiring concerns

Tasmanians reluctant to rewire NBN-connected homes, using Wi-Fi instead

NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, has hit back at claims residents could be faced with additional charges of between $3000 and $6000 to rewire their homes as a result of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

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A spokesperson for the network wholesaler told Computerworld Australia this week that initial intentions to include an ADSL emulation interface on residential Network Termination Units (NTU) for premises had been scrapped, leaving interface choice to four Ethernet ports and two SIP-based ports to connect analogue telephones to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

Concerns over the potential requirement to rewire one’s house to take advantage of the 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and greater speeds afforded under the NBN have led one electrical industry representation and reports from media to claim the cost of such rewiring could revolve between $3000 and $6000.

However, Quigley used his first public appearance since the Federal election to calm such concerns and eliminate continuing media “hysteria”.

“The whole business of $3000 to $6000 per home, I simply have no idea where that came from, it just isn’t factual at all,” he said at the Commsday Summit in Melbourne this week. “Simply what’s got plugged into the DSL modem at the moment - and most of them are Wi-Fi routers as well - can plug into a residential gateway which is connected to the NTU.”

Quigley pointed to feedback from customers connected to some of the 170 active services in the three Tasmanian pre-release trial sites, which indicated that approximately three per cent of NBN subscribers had done anything about their internal wiring while less than 0.5 per cent had gone with cordless phones rather than plugging into the SIP ports.

“People are in fact upgrading some of their facilities but it’s a relationship with them and their retail service provider and it’s just simply not an area we’ve heard any complaints about or any concerns,” he said.

“There is a lot of work to be done in the migration by retail services providers and we’re working with them on that, but we really do expect not a huge amount of work in the home.”

One of the first NBN customers, Robert Pettman, told Computerworld Australia he had noticed the difference in speed between devices connected to existing CAT6 wiring in his home and those connected over a wireless router, but hadn’t seen a problem so far.

“I think everybody has had theirs installed where needed,” he said. “I personally haven’t heard of anybody having to outlay any additional costs to get any cables and that kind of thing installed.

“I know my neighbour across the road had theirs come in at a corner that hooked up into a bedroom and as a result they converted it to their new office just because that’s where everything was and they didn’t have cables running everywhere.”

Communications Alliance chief executive, John Stanton, said each RSP was likely to plan its own migration platform based on existing products.

iiNet has continued to push its BoB device, an ADSL2+ wireless modem router, for NBN subscribers, but has configured one Ethernet port to operate as a WAN connection through a firmware update. Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said his own service provider and others were likely to follow suit.

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