Only 6400 NBN fibre connections so far

NBN Co has hooked up just shy of 6400 fibre broadband connections to the National Broadband Network. Of the 25,495 NBN-connected premises, “just under 6400 are fibre, just under 600 are fixed wireless and just over 17,000 are for satellite,” Jim Hassell, head of product development and sales at NBN Co, told a Senate Estimates committee yesterday.

Of those 17,000 satellite connections, around 8000 were new customers and 9000 were customers who were previously on the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) for more than three years, the committee heard.

The ABG ended in June last year and was designed to help residential and small business premises access broadband services regardless of where they were located.

Just 3295 homes have been passed by the NBN since August this year.

Broadband minister Senator Stephen Conroy told the committee that NBN Co was on track to meet its targets of 286,000 premises passed by the NBN by 30 June 2013.

“We’ll meet the 758,000 under construction or completed by end of the year that we announced in February/March…” he said.

“We’re going to hit the 758,000 target, so get used to it – we’re going to hit it – and we will not have failed as [shadow broadband minister] Malcolm Turnbull and your side of politics claim. Get used to it.”

NBN Co has set a target of passing 54,300 premises by the end of this calendar year, the committee was told.

Hassell told the committee that the speeds consumers have chosen for the NBN have differed from NBN Co’s initial forecasts. It originally suggested the highest take-up would be on the lowest speed – 12/1Mbps, with 49 per cent of users opting for this speed; 28 per cent connecting at 25Mbps; 5 per cent on 50Mbps and 18 per cent on 100/40Mbps.

Instead, Hassell said there has been a take-up rate of 44% on 100/40Mbps.

However, he conceded it was too early to tell if this was indicative of longer term trends.

“It is too early to say whether that trend is going to continue, so we monitor that pretty closely and we’d like to go and complete some areas so we know what that map will actually be,” he said.

“Having said that, we do have some sites with some very high take-up levels. For example, Kiama is over 40 per cent in terms of take-up and even in those sites it’s still very high – 38 per cent at the top tier.”

Conroy also told the committee that take-up in Tasmania is ahead of forecasts.

“We forecasted 11 to 12 per cent and the average across Tasmania, I think, from recollection, is about 17 or 18 per cent, with Midway Point up in the high 20s,” Conroy said.

“In the three months we’ve opened Kingston Beach, it’s 17 per cent take-up in the first three months.”

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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