Whirlpool gives NBN tick of approval

Response to the fibre network largely positive despite raging debates

If the Whirlpool user community was a physical town, National Broadband Network (NBN) take-up would be much higher than real world results.

That’s according to the latest <i>Consumer Sentiment Survey</i> from the broadband enthusiasts forum, which canvassed the opinions of 23,513 users at the beginning of 2011.

According to the results released this week, 69.9 per cent of those surveyed would ensure the service was connected to their premises as NBN Co contractors roll past. The figure is less than the some 90 per cent of adopters in the mainland site of Armidale, but significantly higher than the 15 per cent uptake experienced so far in Tasmania, which has been operational since August last year.

Some 56.9 per cent said they would switch to the NBN on day one of operation, while only 3.5 per cent of those surveyed said they would ensure not to get a connection.

Nearly half indicated they supported opt-out legislation under the NBN rollout, a measure currently only enforced in Tasmania to improve the take-up of NBN services. Similar proposals have been rejected in Victoria while other states are yet to fully consider the issue.

Those surveyed were also keen to take advantage of the higher bandwidth afforded under fibre-to-the-home technology on the national network, with 62.5 per cent indicating they would sign up for speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) or more.

However, in a possible indication of consumer sentiment to rising prices under the NBN, those surveyed were split over how much they would pay. A total 35.5 per cent said they wouldn’t pay more for NBN services, while only 8.6 per cent indicated they would pay more than an additional $50 per month for the faster services.

Sentiment around government handling of the project was also mixed, with 37.2 per cent describing it as acceptable and a similar figure of 31.2 per cent arguing it was poor. Forum organisers indicated the response was far better than when the same question was asked two years ago, when only 15.1 per cent of respondents found government handling to be adequate.

Community organisers were keen to stress the survey sample were likely more informed than the wider community and results would differ.

However, the forum has become the battleground for several major disputes over varied aspects of the new network, while NBN Co itself recently taking to the site to explain wholesale pricing structure and examples.

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags NBNNetworkingnbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)whirlpooltelcos

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