NBN Co has added an additional 191,000 premises to the 2012 National Broadband Network (NBN) fibre roll-out, adding eight new fibre-serving areas to its 12-month roll-out plan.
The new update, announced by NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley in Senate Estimates last night, and published on NBN Co's website this morning, brings the total number of premises expected to be passed in the next 12 months to 758,100. Homes that are already connected number about 18,200, with around 5500 customers using the NBN, while construction is already underway for 121,500 premises.
Eight new fibre-serving areas are included in the updated plan from October last year:
- Corrimal in New South Wales, serving 8300 premises
- Ascot in Queensland, serving 9900 premises
- Bellerive, Claremont and South Launceston in Tasmania, serving 27,200 premises
- Footscray, Karingal and Keysborough in Victoria, serving 25,200 premises.
The remaining 120,000 premises will be included as expansions of areas previously announced, NBN Co said.
Last night, Quigley warned opposition senators against referring to NBN Co's December 2010 corporate plan to see how far behind NBN Co is with the roll-out.
He said that the government's decision to hand back part of the greenfields obligations to Telstra, and the lengthy delay in getting the Telstra deal signed, are the reasons why the plan is no longer relevant.
"If [you're] comparing the December 2010 plan with what the plans are now, those are significantly different," he said. "The plan has changed."
NBN Co can't be considered to be at "volume" roll-out until the Telstra deal has been ticked off by the competition regulator, he said, adding that much of the work currently being undertaken by the company is "invisible", in that there are no premises passed. This includes accelerating the construction of the transit network, and building ducts for the greenfields sites. He said it is common for NBN Co to need to construct 6km of ducts to serve one greenfields site.
NBN Co will update its 12-month fibre roll-out plan every quarter, and the company said it will release a three-year indicative roll-out plan in the first quarter of 2012.
Quigley also responded to criticism from the coalition that NBN Co has decided to fork out $620 million for the development of two new Ka-band satellites to provide satellite broadband to 3 per cent of Australian premises, rather than using existing capacity. He said that in the two years of negotiating the deal, NBN Co "looked very closely" at using existing capacity, but it isn't available.
"It would make our job much easier if capacity existed ... but it simply didn't."