iiNet announced it now has 10,000 customers on the National Broadband Network (NBN), but speculation around further downgrades in NBN Co targets would be disappointing, according to the ISP.
Last week shadow Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, told parliament NBN Co will shortly announce that it won’t meet its June 2013 target to pass 286,000 premises.
The Australian Financial Review reported NBN Co could slash its June goal by up to half of the targeted 286,000 premises.
“We just want them to go faster, so if they downgraded the numbers again that would be a bit disappointing,” Steve Dalby, chief regulatory officer at iiNet, told Computerworld Australia.
However, any further downgrades to NBN targets would not impact on iiNet, Dalby said, as the NBN was still a small component of the ISP’s overall business.
It now has more than 1 million services connected to broadband on copper, its own HFC and fibre network and satellite.
“It’s not going to have much of an impact other than the disappointment. So we’ll keep going and getting on with business and servicing customers, but the transition from the copper-based infrastructure into a new fibre-based infrastructure really can’t come soon enough for us,” Dalby said.
“We’re all a bunch of geeks, we’re all very passionate about the Internet [and] we’re all passionate about the sorts of services that will be enabled once the bandwidth and the reliability of fibre is more widely available.
“It’s something that we look forward to, but we’re in the hands of NBN Co and their rollout.”
iiNet has increased its customers on the NBN’s fibre network from 2700 at November last year to 5300, with 4600 now on satellite and 250 customers on fixed wireless.
Dalby said customers on the NBN’s fibre have leaned towards signing up for the higher speeds of 50Mbps and 100Mbps.
This a reflection of the wider trend across the NBN’s customers. In October last year NBN Co said although it predicted the highest take-up would be on the lowest speed – 12/1Mbps – there has been a take-up rate of 44 per cent on 100/40Mbps.
Jim Hassell, former head of product development and sales at NBN Co, said it was too early to tell whether early take-up rates would be indicative of longer term trends.
Dalby agreed. He said it won’t be until the company reaches 1 million customers on the NBN that a call can be made about the longer term trends.
NBN Co is yet to confirm whether its targets will be downgraded, with an announcement reportedly to come as soon as next week.
Dalby said his advice to the company would be to “Shut your ears to the political debate that is going on and get on with the job – focus.
“We’re a little sanguine I guess about how long [the project] takes. The main thing is that the project keeps going.”
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