After an announcement in September that many NBN customers will likely receive a free (or significantly discounted) upgrade to full fibre to the home in coming years, one could only expect that a number of Technology Choice applicants would seek refunds, and wait for a free build rather than paying for one.
More recently, NBN Co announced it was placing the program on hiatus while it reviewed the impact for those customers seeking to upgrade ahead of a wider, less costly roll-out. As I write this, the NBN Technology Choice website says no applications will be taken until December, and any new applicants will have to wait.
While community information suggests a large number of technology choice applicants have sought refunds and will wait their turn, for those who are pushing ahead – myself included – the process seems to have accelerated somewhat.
Just last week (so, ten days ago) civil works commenced outside our place, where street pits were re-mediated and fibre was run from the nearest junction point to our pit, and then down the conduit to our house. That took a couple of days, involving some earth moving and digging equipment, some mud, and later some concrete. When the works were complete the civil contractor indicated it’d only be a few days to a week until the rest of the install would be completed – and they weren’t wrong.
Yesterday, an NBN contractor attended our property and completed the external works – splicing fibre and preparing the connection to the internal equipment which was yet to be installed. He said if he’d had the internal equipment with him – the NTD – he’d have installed it the same day, but supplies were a bit low – so he’d return the next day. Lo and behold he did, and after an hour or so of splicing and pulling cable, the NTD is now installed in our comms cupboard and we’re just about ready to connect.
My tale is not the only one; the Technology Choice thread on Australian technology forum Whirlpool, shows that many applicants have received similar updates on their application trackers, with a lot of civil works happening around the country this last week to bring those connections forward as quickly as possible. Many users have been promised connections by Christmas (eight weeks away), with a good number of those having expected connection dates in early to mid November.
In our case, with the NTD installed and online, it’s just a matter of time until NBN Co flicks the switch and we can migrate our existing FTTN connection across to the fibre. For a good many fellow Technology Choice applicants, that time will fast be approaching too.
For those wanting fibre, unfortunately, the wait continues – there is, as yet, no clarity on when NBN Co will begin rolling out fibre to current FTTN customers, and not much to go on for re-opening of the Technology Choice program either, beyond “some time in December”.