A further 200,000 premises in Queensland and NSW will get access to the NBN over the next 12 months following the expansion of its FTTN trial in these areas.
The 140 suburbs set to be connected are located in the Central Coast, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions in New South Wales as well as the Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay and Wide Bay Burnett regions in Queensland.
Typically, it takes 12 months from the commencement of construction for all premises in an area to be deemed serviceable.
The FTTN roll-out, combined with upgrades to existing Hybrid Fibre/Coaxial Cable (HFC) networks, is designed to help accelerate access to the NBN.
It will need to. The project remains well behind the targets set by the last publicly released Corporate Plan and those targets themselves represented a major scaling down of original projections.
According to NBN Co’s 1st Quarter results announcement, the network now extends to 640,000 serviceable premises and has some 267,000 customers. These figures represent significant progress over the last 12 months but they are still well behind the 1,681,000 premises passed and the 551,000 active customers projected for June 2014 in the 2012-2015 Corporate Plan.
NBN Co has now indicated that the next Corporate Plan, which is still under wraps, will set targets of 1 million serviceable homes and approximately 480,000 customers by the end of the 2015 financial year.
These targets are probably achievable. But the distance between these modest goals and the targets of the 2012-2015 plan (3.7 million premises passed by June 2015) is a sobering reminder of the practical difficulties –many of them clearly unforeseen –that have faced this project.