This week the government-owned NBNCo announced that Australia’s National Broadband Network had passed 10 million homes, with those properties now able to connect to the national network. With just one year until the network build is scheduled to be completed, there’s 1.6 million homes to go.

The network, which began as the promise of near universal fibre to the premises technology, is now majority built on copper-based technologies, including the poorest of connections Fibre to the Node which can deliver some rather poor experiences for customers.

Of the 10 million properties ready to connect, though, only some 5.5 million households have taken up the new network. In order to meet its own targets, NBNCo needs to get another 2 million customers connected in the next year or so, which might prove challenging given it connected only 1.5 million in the last year.

On the NBN’s side is the 18 month window from “ready for service” after which existing fixed-line services are decommissioned. At that point, customers wishing to retain their internet connections either need to take up an NBN plan, or connect via an alternative means such as 4G or alternative carrier options e.g. TPG in fibre-enabled buildings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, after that 18 month window, 75% of premises that can connect to the NBN are doing so.

The news from NBNCo comes this week as internet providers have unveiled plans in the UK to deliver near universal fibre to the premises, with promises of gigabit speeds. Granted, the UK is smaller than Australia and the undertaking will be somewhat easier, but the move further solidifies Australia’s NBN as a failure of public policy, and the “winners” are the Australian people who’ll suffer through a less than capable network for years, and the taxpayers who’ll ultimately foot the bill.


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    No doubt the LNP conned the voting public, but the Australian voter is very easily fooled by political chicanery.
    Anyways, I avoided that copper shit FTTN and bought a place in one of the original FTTP test zones, so happy days for me.


    You do realise that with the average cost of technology change being less than $10,000 I hope you didn’t overpay just for FTTP.

    People spend more on a kitchen or bathroom renovation.

    Scott D

    We, the Australian Taxpayers and Citizens have been conned by a Coalition Government led by Tony Abbot who went to great lengths to sabotage Labor’s NBN infrastructure initiative with the then Communications and Broadband Minister, Malcolm Turnbull who also just happened to be a BIG Kerry Packer (Channel 9) supporter, a major stakeholder in Ozemail and several internet businesses including WebCentral and The Coalition Government went on to bastardise the NBN under Tony Abbots stewardship, and even after ridiculing the need for the NBN project, often criticising Labor citing the estimated 29.5 billion dollar project cost, the project has… Read more »

    Jeni Skunk

    Short memory, Scott. During the federal election when Abbott and the LNP were elected, as far as the generic Australian voter was concerned, the NBN was a non-existent issue, for all that it mattered to tech users. Try to explain the NBN to those tech-illiterate voters, and their eyes would just glaze over. They didn’t know and didn’t care. In the elections since then, at no time has the NBN been able to be made into a vote winning issue. Because voters didn’t, haven’t, and don’t care to MAKE it an election issue, the LNP could and did screw it… Read more »


    Labor documented that public benefits (e.g. education & health) of the NBN required a minimum of 100Mbps. Labor followed this up by adding speed tiers to the NBN and accepting modelling that <1% would be on 1Gbps in 2026. Try explaining to technically literate, that their neighbours won't pay more for faster speed, even when the NBN data shows <10% selecting 100Mbps. If Labor had not implemented speed tiers, FTTN would not have been possible because it is clearly slower. However if NBNCo removed speed tiers from FTTN, the average speed (68Mbps) would be faster than FTTP with Labor's speed… Read more »


    All that I as tax payer doing is to sit in my lounge and type out things on platforms like this. Absolute rediculous and pathetic public serpents that we have. Tax will be taken without you consent to it, however services when expected, it is an “ I decide, yo just keep paying tax” attitude. No govt. is free from this and let us not play hide and seek here nor blame the other part always. Such a pathetic opposition and ruling party. I am not sure even if the sitting in opposition criteria is only the failure in election.… Read more »

    Alan Bennett

    Of all the people whinging about the speed of 40 Mbps, how many need it?
    It was rushed from the day it was conceived.
    And if the original specs were kept, it would cost 10 times the amount originally quoted.
    Thought up by politicians to stroke their ego.


    In 2-3 years, NBNCo’s expensive geo-synchronous Sky Muster satellites are made obsolete by low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. With 60 satellites in orbit, SpaceX Starlink is the front runner, but OneWeb and TeleSat have strong backing.

    Rural users will celebrate faster speeds, higher downloads and most importantly latency dropping from 700ms to under 40ms.


    Typical response ‘ dur dur 10x more expensive without any facts to back up my claim dur dur’.

    Honestly, I’ve met actual sheep with more intellectual potential than people who keep stating this tired lie.


    Let’s be clear, it was the Coalition who sabotaged the NBN when they abandoned fibre to the premises. I just don’t know why the Australian public doesn’t hold them to account. We are told that slow wages growth is due to poor productivity, while the supposedly good economic managers throttle the productivity gains that a fully fibre NBN would have delivered, just to name one topical example. Shame on these vandals who sabotage our future potential.


    I agree with you it was the coalition who said we can do it cheaper which means using the old copper wires in a house if you look at places like Essendon Keilor East Avondale heights, and places like these that the homes around here are in or around 60 years old like ours and the copper cable have been here for God knows how long. The Coalition screwed us by doing this fibre and copper don’t work well together, specially if the copper has been there for a long time. I used to work for Olex Cables in Victoria… Read more »


    The primary reason that the NBN failed to meet your expectations is that you didn’t understand what Labor promised. – Firstly at 2007 election, Labor promised FTTN. This changed to FTTP when Telstra refused to co-operate with the build. – Secondly, Labor constructed a pricing structure with speed tiers and acknowledged that <1% would be able to afford 1Gbps in 2026. – Thirdly, technology journalist (encouraged by fibre fanbois) ignored the obvious flaws in Labor's plan. When you expect that less than 10% will connect at 100Mbps or faster then it is reasonable public policy to build a network that… Read more »

    Stuart Brown

    It’s simply not correct to say it’s more difficult to install internet in Australia. We are the second most urbanised country in the world, capital and regional cities. Even the smallest towns are nano cities, connected by fibre optic cable, I live in a small town of 2,800, I have fiber optic cable to the home. I get NBN 100, it’s actually quite a dense town, not dispersed. Australia doesn’t have a scattered population, our farming is highly mechanised, almost automated, compared to the United States of America, Europe, who have dispersed communities. New Zealand, will have fibre optic cable… Read more »

    Chris Heinrich

    Fibre is technology from the last century, so the headline is meaningless. Less than fifty years ago Australia was still rolling out copper to regional Victoria. When it was done, everybody cheered. It was progress.


    Mathew, your argument is correct – today. What about 5 years down the track as international technology adapts to very fast broadband speeds? We will be back to long pauses in downloads, video breaking up, etc. We download from the reset of the world, who we are falling further and further behind, and technology changes fast.


    FTTP without speed tiers would have opened up innovation. Labor’s decision to add speed tiers mean that the country was always destined to fall behind, except for the rich.

    Don’t forget technology change is almost certainly cheaper than the cost of moving house.


    I have to say that even though i am on FTTN very happy with the speed almost 40mbps at that is right on the boundry with the Node i am connected too. This is all because i changed to Aussie Broadband before that i was with Optus with drop outs daily sluggish with Streaming Netflix or both of my kids able to connect to the Internet. There is one big reason why could get better speed is due to CVC, as Aussie Broadband purchases more CVC when more of their clients are on a Node. From what i know is… Read more »


    The Australian people have been conned by the government with universal NBN. The cost is horrendous both to the taxpayer and the the user with the technology way behind most parts of the western world. In my case, I am paying significantly more for a service that delivers less than half the speed I currently enjoy (my broadband speed prior to NBN was in excess of 100Mbps, now it is 40-50Mbps and costs more!). I believe politicians should be made to keep well away from things they fail to understand. This includes technology and dare I say, economic policy. The… Read more »

    Just over it

    I’d kill for FTTN @ 100Mbps. Mine doesn’t get to 50Mbps and there are people further up the street now getting worse than their old ADSL2+. 35 mins from Sydney CBD. Failure of public policy you say? It is down right criminal that we are spending such large amounts of money for, in some cases, a worse result. No one gets held accountable.


    For most roads in Australia the limiting factor is the speed limit, not the technical capabilities of the cars being driven. A 10 year old camry will comfortably sit at 160Km/h, although I wouldn’t recommend it due to reduced reaction time. The NBN from day one has a speed tiers enforcing artificial speed limits. For all but a rare few the technology doesn’t matter as long as the performance exceeds the speed tier ordered by the customer. Last time I checked, only AussieBroadband are offering faster than 100Mbps on a national basis. If you are one of the less than… Read more »

    w t

    Internet in Australia is poor due to the LNP. If people voted for the original plan of FTTP it would have been close to being delivered. LNP delayed the rollout and redirected towards wasting billions buying out of date HFC and rolling out new copper and HFC lines. I am on one of the new rollouts of HFC. My parents home was originally planned to have wireless NBN under the Liberal plan. They live in a suburban part of Bendigo not that far from the CBD. It was only recently they were “upgraded” to FTTN as the wireless boundary was… Read more »


    Average internet speeds are faster under LNP because CVC prices have been cut from $20/Mbps to $8/Mbps and CVC bundling with 50Mbps AVC has incentivised RSPs to sell that speed. Labor expected close 50% to be on 12Mbps in 2026. FTTP, speed tiers meant that Labor expected only a small fraction (<1% in 2026) would have had 1Gbps. Australians have voted with their wallet for slow internet with unlimited data. The alternative could have been 1Gbps for 93% and data quotas. HFC is perfectly capable of delivering the required speeds, and more so 10 years ago when Labor started overbuilding… Read more »