NBN's Tassie upgrade to cost $1.3 million

NBN's Tassie upgrade to cost $1.3 million

Summary: NBN Co will spend $1.3 million on replacing outdated network technology in 700 premises in Tasmanian trial sites for the National Broadband Network (NBN).


NBN Co will spend $1.3 million on replacing outdated network technology in 700 premises in Tasmanian trial sites for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Tasmania was the first state in Australia to receive the NBN roll-out. As such, it was treated as a pilot site for the $35.9 billion network, as NBN Co used it to work out the best technology and construction methods for the national roll-out. Installed in each of the Tasmanian premises in the initial stage of the roll-out was an NEC Ethernet network-termination unit (NTU), with a maximum download speed limited to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), while NBN Co now plans to offer speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) in the future.

NBN Co has since been using Alcatel-Lucent interfaces in premises in the mainland roll-out sites, which can support 1Gbps download speeds.

CEO Mike Quigley told a Budget Estimates hearing last night that the company will need to replace the NEC devices with the Alcatel-Lucent gear in approximately 700 premises in Tasmania, comprising of 300 in Midway Point, 150 in Scottsdale and over 200 in Smithton. This is significantly lower than the 4000 estimated in February. The company has estimated that the replacement will cost a total of $1.3 million to the taxpayer. NBN Co will finish this upgrade by the end of the year.

Telstra said in February that it will withhold offering commercial services in Tasmania until the upgrade has been completed.

"Telstra needs to wait until the technology in Tasmania is upgraded, and the NBN systems and processes that support serving our customers provide the same levels of service to all customers, no matter where they live," Telstra told ZDNet Australia at the time.

NBN Co said that customers wouldn't notice the difference between the two devices today, and that there are many other service providers to choose from in Tasmania in the meantime.

"The good news for people in these communities is that they don't need to wait for Telstra before receiving the benefits of super fast broadband. There are plenty of choices from plenty of other internet service providers that are offering very competitive NBN-enabled services right now."

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Hardware, Telcos, Telstra


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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  • Its good to see the NBN keeping up with the latest equipement & letting the people benefit from it.
    After all thats why it was a trial, to see how this equipment went. Now its time to set a standard for everyone to have equal quality of service.
    Well done NBN!
  • It's nice to see Tas finally get some decent internet connectivity, for too long Tas has been stooged on decent internet connectivity but that has finally changed with the NBN.
    • Given the early priority given to Tasmania, it is around 90% likely that the entire state will receive the full NBN rollout as originally planned (fibre, fixed wireless & satellite), even if there is a change in government.

      Makes it a great place to move to and set up business!
  • Thank you, Tasmania, for helping NBNCo get the design optimised. Heard a great anecdote this week. Four kids at a little school in one of the Tassie pilot towns wanted to study Japanese, but they could not afford to engage a specialist language teacher. So, those four children are doing their Japanese class, at school, with a Japanese teacher located in Japan. Nice one.
    • But, but, but... they could do that on dial-up ;-)
  • So thats $2000 per premise just to replace the NTU...wow. Somebody is making a fortune on that work
    • The point of pilot schemes is to determine the best practice and save money in the broader picture.

      The Tasmanian rollout planning actually pre-dated NBNco and this just serves to emphasise why a national project is needed.
  • I think everyone is missing the big picture here and that is the anti-NBN zealots have effectively admitted defeat by complaining about this upgrade.

    They are now finally admitting we will ALL need speeds faster than 100/40mbps.
    Hubert Cumberdale