NBN Co reaches fibre target, misses wireless goal

NBN Co has said that it has passed 163,500 existing premises with fibre as of the end of June, but missed its wireless target.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

NBN Co is claiming a victory in meeting its revised target for premises passed as of the end of June, but the company has entered into another argument over whether premises passed truly means premises passed.

The government-owned company tasked with constructing and operating the AU$37.4 billion fibre-to-the-premises (FttP), fixed-wireless and satellite networks today said that as of the end of June, it had passed 163,500 brownfields premises and 44,000 greenfields premises with fibre.

In announcing a revision of its June forecast in March, NBN Co said it would pass between 155,000 and 175,000 brownfields premises, and between 35,000 and 45,000 greenfields.

Contention has arisen over whether NBN Co is counting premises passed that currently cannot get NBN services. The Australian Financial Review has reported that up to 55,000 premises included in NBN Co's figures cannot yet get services on the NBN.

NBN Co did not deny this when asked by ZDNet, but said that the argument is semantic.

"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."

The company also appears to have fallen massively short of its own August 2012 target for premises passed by the fixed-wireless network. NBN Co had set the target of 70,000 premises to be reached by the end of June in the corporate plan, but the figures released today state that 27,300 premises have been passed by the fixed-wireless network.

NBN Co told ZDNet that the fixed-wireless premises passed figure was revised in March down to 37,000, meaning that NBN Co still ultimately missed its revised target.

There has been speculation that NBN Co had been struggling to meet its targets for the fixed-wireless network due to poor premises location information and interference from tall trees.

As of the end of June, NBN Co had a total of 33,600 services active on the fibre network, with 1,900 fixed-wireless services and 34,600 satellite services active.

Editorial standards