NBN isn't meeting our needs: Victoria

NBN isn't meeting our needs: Victoria

Summary: The Victorian Government has seized on a Deloitte report stating that the NBN's roll-out pace is not keeping up with demand for high-speed broadband.


Over 358,000 premises, or roughly 13 per cent of Victorian households and 18 per cent of Victorian businesses, want a fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) broadband connection — but they can't get it right now, according to a new report from Deloitte Economics.

The report (PDF), commissioned by the Victorian Government, also stated that at December 2011, only 1 per cent of households and 3.9 per cent of businesses in Victoria had access to FttP broadband.

According to the report, the delay in the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN), while NBN Co negotiates its facilities-access agreement with Telstra, reduced Deloitte's forecast for the uptake of high-speed broadband, because it is unlikely that alternative infrastructure will be developed while the NBN is underway. This coincides with an increase in unmet demand, as "consumers become increasingly aware of the capabilities of high-speed broadband, but are unable to access top-of-the-line services".

The report noted that unmet demand for what it calls "second-wave" broadband, with speeds of between 8 megabits per second (Mbps) and 50Mbps, is likely to fall during the next four years, as NBN Co rolls out its fixed-wireless and satellite services in regional and remote Australia, which are set to be complete by 2015. While NBN Co has forecasted upgrades to these services in the future to increase speeds beyond 12Mbps, the report stated that the launch of this service would "entrench" the digital divide between metro and regional Australia, although it wouldn't make it worse.

"Carriers have not provided more advanced services to these regions to date, as the relatively fewer potential customers mean infrastructure in regional areas does not make economic sense. Consequently a digital divide has emerged between more and less densely populated areas," the report states. "While the NBN approach entrenches this divide somewhat, the wireless/satellite solution represents a similar proportional increase for these regions as the fibre solution does for regions that already have second wave broadband services."

Given the NBN's importance in ensuring that demand is met for high-speed broadband, the report states that the delay or cancellation of the NBN would have "substantial implications" in the uptake of services.

"Given this importance, any delays in the roll-out or cancellation of the NBN would have substantial implications for these results, with fewer likely subscribers in the two more advanced fixed-broadband categories, and more in the basic broadband categories as demand goes unmet," the report states.

According to NBN Co's three-year roll-out plan, around 30 per cent of Victoria will be covered by the NBN in the next three years, with 691,600 premises to be covered in 98 suburbs, while 70 per cent of the roll-out in Victoria will be in metropolitan areas.

The Victorian Coalition Government seized on the report, with Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips saying that the NBN has left Victoria "stuck in slow motion" and failing to keep pace with unmet demand.

"Much of this unmet demand is a result of the void created in private-sector broadband investment since the Commonwealth Labor Government decided to build its own broadband network," he said in a statement.

"It's clear the Commonwealth's roll-out plan is not hitting areas where there is strong demand for services, or those areas that would benefit most from adequate services."

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the Coalition will aim to deliver high-speed broadband faster and cheaper than the NBN's roll-out, because a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network requires less construction work, which makes up the bulk of the cost and the time required for the current NBN plan.

But any changes to the roll-out would be decided after a cost-benefit analysis is conducted. Turnbull has previously indicated that he would halt the NBN construction while this analysis is conducted, but said on Friday that he would keep the project going in the meantime.

Turnbull also said that regional Australia would be better off, with communities of under 1000 premises that miss out on FttP under the current NBN plan potentially to be serviced by FttN instead of fixed-wireless or satellite broadband.

Conroy has said that towns near transit links with under 1000 premises will still be serviced by fibre, while under the Coalition plan no regional towns would be serviced by fibre.

Topics: Telcos, Government, Government AU, NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Can't Win

    From the outset the Liberal Vic government did not support the NBN. What they should have done is commissioned Deloittes to find out the demand for faster broadband before trying to torpedo the NBN. I guess for them it's all about politics. Shame they did not support the NBN from the outset.
    Mark S-8ff5e
  • VIC Liberals

    So lets get this straight. These are the same Liberals that didnt want the NBN, yet go screaming to the media that they arent getting it fast enough in the early rollouts.

    The same politicians that demand an Opt In solution (so their population miss out on NBN by default), yet cry that its not being rolled out fast enough.

    Members of a political party who's alternative plan is to roll out a slower system, basing their choice to do so on dollars and cents, rather than future needs for the country...

    Its politicking at its worst - putting their political agenda and bias ahead of their constituents needs, then hiding behind media reports supporting the need for better than their plan.
  • Government by real estate agents

    And you thought it was bad with lawyers ;-) These are the people who have been downgrading our education system and our services while increasing the number of unemployed by sacking public servants. All this when our economy is the envy of the world.

    Doesn't stop them sending cattle into our high country wilderness for their National Party friends.

    However, their opposition is understandable as they lack anyone who actually knows what the NBN is, let alone does.

    Happily it's starting to look like they'll be a one term government.
    • Cattlenet! Let your data be herd

      But the cattle are part of the coalitions secret broadband policy. All they need to do is upgrade the NLIS ear tags to hold more data, and the cattle can deliver the data to remote areas! Could carry more data than the phone lines around here!

      Opposing things without understanding them is truly terrible.
      {Oh on that note...150 years worth of grazing in the highlands... do you think that any impact on environment may have already occurred and the cattle are now PART of the ecosystem there? As for all things, studies before kneejerk decisions would be better.}
      Taylor Greu
  • Spin, spin, spin

    87% of Victorian households and 82% of Victorian businesses don't want it. But according to the spin spin spin of the article the NBN is somehow failing Victorians because the few who do want it now, no matter what that costs everyone else, and they can't have it now.

    The single useful part of the study is that it reveals how few Victorians actually want this $46B-$51B gold-plated white elephant.
    Gordon D
    • What people like you fail to understand

      Is growth, massive internet growth happening all the time. Also with the ever increasing use of the so called "Cloud" we will need lots of spare performance out of our Broadband Network and even though I voted coalition in the last election based on there current out of date thinking there is NO chance we will get a better/faster system from them.

      Big time fail mainly from the National party for not standing up for the country.
      • Don't mind him martin. He's still crying because he got his ass handed to him over at Delimter. Obviously he's feeling a bit embarrassed and has had to find a new place to vent his ill-informed opinions. Zdnet seems to be it :-)
        Hubert Cumberdale
    • Now... from the report

      Gordon D.

      From the ACTUAL report...

      "Demand for faster broadband services is expected to grow significantly. Almost 90% of households will demand at least second wave broadband, representing substantial growth on current demand. In 2016, it is projected that 80% of households will want third wave broadband, compared to less than a quarter today.


      80% of households will want third wave in 2016 - you do know what that means Gordon?

      And look they/you/me WILL be wanting it in about 4 years time, about the time the NBN will well and truly be delivered to many (if not bastardised by your obvious heroes)...?

      Anything else?
    • Huuuuhhhhh

      Evidence please.
      All polling, research and evidence disagrees, so please support your assertions.

      The Coalition holds the US Competitive model as the golden example. Try some Facts - Iknow facts are a socialist pinko commie conspiracy.

      but read and do try to learn as difficult as that may be for you

      Abel Adamski
  • CBA

    Still should be a cost benefit analysis
    • Says who?

    • CBA's and CBA's

      1) With what goal or purpose ?
      2) With what Criteria ?
      3) With what terms of reference ?
      4) With what Limitations ?

      Any smart sleazebag can set up a CBA to produce whatever result they want, and with a compliant and co=operative media, we the mug voters will never know the facts or how much we were scammed
      Abel Adamski
  • cba 2

    and I dislike emo haircuts
  • Meeting Demand

    Since the coalition are still insisting that there is NO demand for a FTTH system, how can it be possible that this zero demand is not being met?