The development of high speed mobile services is the single biggest threat to NBN Co’s business, according to the company’s chairman, Ziggy Switkowski.
Switkowski told a recent industry conference that the rapid growth of wireless capabilities put added pressure on NBN Co to complete its network roll-out quickly, so that one platform did not, in practice, outpace the other and complementarities were lost.
NBN Co also needs to build scale quickly so that it – and its customers – can reap the benefits of similar economies to those enjoyed by wireless operators.
Switkowski said that as a result of delays renegotiating deals with both Telstra and Optus, there would be no final “NBN 2.0” until 2015, while the major ramp up in construction wouldn’t happen until 2016.
“From there,” he said “it will be “a race from 2017 to 2020 to get the job done.”
But even if that goal is achieved, current NBN target speeds of 100 Mbps by 2020 may not be enough to stem the wireless tide and keep the number of wireless-only households below the 13% on which the NBN Co’s commercial plans are based.