As part of wide-sweeping changes to the NBN network strategy identified in September, more than 100,000 premises are set to benefit from the ability to connect Fibre to the Premises. The vastly superior network technology is being made available in areas poorly served by Fibre to the Node, and the first suburbs to benefit have now been identified.
This week, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said that NBN Co has commenced work with its delivery partners to construct local fibre networks passing more than 100,000 premises which will allow them to upgrade to full fibre to the premise instead of fibre to the node.
The first suburbs to benefit have now been listed, with Fletcher saying:
“This initial footprint has been designed by NBN Co to focus on areas where the company anticipates strong demand from households and businesses, and where NBN Co has established construction and delivery partners that are well resourced and ready to work,” Minister Fletcher said.
“It is cost effective to start work now in these areas, and in this way we can spread and multiply economic activity across the nation by creating jobs and enabling more Australians to realise the benefits of even faster internet.”
The initial footprint will benefit suburbs in New South Wales most of all, with relatively fewer suburbs also covering smaller areas) being announced for other states:
- Belmont North, Charlestown, Toronto, Carramar, Castle Hill, Holsworthy, Liverpool, and Wetherill Park in New South Wales
- Lyndhurst and Narre Warren in Victoria
- Acacia Ridge, Browns Plains, Eight Mile and Oxenford in Queensland
- Osborne in South Australia
- Cannington and Double View in Western Australia
With access to fibre to the premises, connections in these suburbs will be capable of gigabit speeds. Unlike the initial fibre to the premise (FTTP) rollout, though, fibre will not be run to each and every single household – instead, it will be run in the street, and connections to individual premises will be made when and if a higher NBN speed tier is ordered.
For those customers happy with their existing plan and speed, no immediate changes will occur. However, once the fibre network is built, those premises passed by it need only order a faster plan, and a full FTTP connection will be built, enabling gigabit speeds for anyone who wants it.
This is only the beginning, said Fletcher, with the initial footprint covering just 5% of the premises that will, ultimately, be able to connect to full fibre broadband.
It is, obviously, early days – there is little clarity about the precise mechanics and timing for people in these suburbs and when they will be able to take advantage of an (essentially) free fibre upgrade. However, as always, the process will be delivered by RSPs and customers will – when the time is right – be able to order a faster service (and fibre upgrade) simply by contacting their provider and starting the process.