One third of NBN premises passed can't connect

One third of NBN premises passed can't connect

Summary: Exclusive: NBN Co has revealed to ZDNet that 55,700 of the 163,500 brownfields premises passed by the NBN's fibre network could not order a service.


Figures released under Freedom of Information have confirmed that one third of existing premises NBN Co had counted as being "passed" by the fibre network as of the end of June this year could not order a service on the NBN.

In rollout figures released in July, NBN Co said that it had met its revised target of passing between 155,000 and 175,000 existing premises by fibre at 163,500, and the company had also met its target of passing between 35,000 and 45,000 new premises by fibre at 44,000.

There had been controversy at the time of the announcement, as NBN Co would not confirm the number of premises included in this figure that could then call up a retail service provider and order a service on the NBN.

It had been speculated that as many as 55,000 premises in places such as apartment blocks or shopping centres were unable to connect to the service due to issues that NBN Co had with obtaining permission to access those lots.

ZDNet has confirmed through a Freedom of Information request that of the 163,500 premises passed as of June 30, 107,800 premises could order a service through a retail service provider on this date. NBN Co confirmed that the one third of premises that could not order a service were mostly located in apartment blocks, office blocks, or other multi-dwelling units.

"The majority of the remaining premises are MDUs (multiple dwelling units), which will be able to be connected in accordance with NBN Co's MDU processes."

All of the 44,000 premises passed in new housing areas were able to order a service according to NBN Co.

Despite the 55,700 premises passed that cannot actually order a service on the network, the company has defended its use of this terminology.

"A premises passed is a premises passed, even if that premises is, say, an office block that will receive services over the NBN outside standard order lead times," an NBN Co spokesperson said.

"We use the accepted industry definition of 'premises passed' — that is, homes and businesses passed by an active telecommunications network. That standard measure includes those complex premises that will receive services over the NBN outside standard order lead times."

Topic: 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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  • Why do you keep writing that MDU's..

    ..can't be connected due to issues that NBN Co had with obtaining permission to access those lots? There may be a few cases where permission is a problem, but the vast majority of bodies corporate (owners' corporations in some states) will be in favour of connecting to the NBN. Hell, why would owners NOT want to increase the value and attractiveness of their properties whether they are owner-occupied or rented out? I think the failure to connect MDU's has far more to do with NBNCo shilly-shallying about how to go about the job. It has taken them until earlier this year to let contracts to connect MDU's, that's four years after the formation of NBNCo and almost two years into the rollout proper. The fact that only about 100,000 premises are ready to be connected four years into the project is a very sad indication of the failure of the project so far. To meet the 2021 target NBNCo has to pass that many premises EVERY MONTH for the next eight years!
    • Failure to address MDUs a Labor failure

      NBNCo raised the issue with govt and recommended FTTB (sound familiar?). The govt rejected it insisting on FTTH. Conroy is to blame (jumped ship).

      Body corporates are an issue. Getting permission from them is a challenge; real world foxtel had the same problem. Some building still refuse to allow connections (foxtel part problem insisting on all or nothing).

      All issues obvious at the the beginning; pointed out to abuse in talkbacks (they're now sulking with the fanboys over at delimiter).
      Richard Flude
      • Ah dear Ricky Flunky...

        "they're now sulking with the fanboys over at delimiter"...

        just can't help but have a snipe at your imagined detractors, resulting in bemused dismissal by most passing readers, which, in the end, is no bad thing really...
        • Not imagined

          We can go to the talkbacks if you like.

          Fun to be right.
          Richard Flude
    • You appear to have no experience with bodies corporate

      While I agree with you that having the NBN connected to a dwelling would increase its value some landlords are not as rational as you an I.

      I am an owner occupier in a small apartment and you would not believe the stupidity I and other owner occupiers came up against when we wanted to get the building cabled for Foxtel TV / Bigpond Cable Internet.

      Unfortunately the Australian Constitution does not afford the Australian Government powers to make laws that protect the sensible from the stupid.
  • Keep going Josh

    "We use the accepted industry definition of 'premises passed..."

    More NBNCo spin. The definition they are to be measured against is supplied on p36 of their corp plan:
    "Premises are passed / covered when the shared network and service elements are installed, accepted, commissioned and ready for service which then enables an End-User to order and purchase a broadband service from their choice of retail service provider."

    Ready for service has been dropped to avoid missing the third downward revision of their June 2013 target (from 1.29m, 349k, to 177k+).

    It disgraceful they aren't being held accountable for their failures. Billions in public money funding these people, who despite their failures have paid bonuses every year. It's revolting.

    (someone has been posting 55k for some months, service level 0 info;-)
    Richard Flude
    • Also worth asking

      Was the FOI request only for brownfields.

      As posted before the greenfield numbers don't make any sense; active connections is far to low given this is the only fix line service available to them.

      Either they can't order a service or the take up numbers are a disaster for the revenue model (two thirds of premises passed ignoring NBN).

      Any info Josh?
      Richard Flude
  • Is the takeup of greenfield sites so low because..

    .. many of the dwellings are not yet occupied? People can't move in until the building is finished and a certificate of occupancy is issued, but after that one would expect that most people would take up their NBN connection pretty promptly (if it's really ready). The published numbers are puzzling.
    • Correct

      Look around actual greenfields sites, vacant blocks everywhere, construction happening and often the retail facilities etc still under construction.
      Strange how some are that thick they expect greenfields sites to be fully constructed and populated with all facilities fully operational. - a clue once construction etc completed it becomes a brownfield site.
      That is the idea of greenfield construction, do all the diggeing, trenching etc etc BEFORE the homes are built and occupied.
      Abel Adamski
  • Work with industry

    If NBN Co could get off its high horse and work with industry (not just their pet organisations) to connect up buildings, instead of trying to wipe out local industry their homes connected results would be a lot better. In fact what is NBN Co doing in MDU's in the first place ?. All Industry needs is the building connection.