The Federal Government will extend its planned fibre roll-out under the National Broadband Network (NBN) from 90 per cent of Australian premises to 93 per cent — covering an additional 1.6 million extra premises.
The idea was first canvassed in the NBN implementation study put together by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG and delivered to the government earlier this year. The original plan had been to provide fibre broadband to 90 per cent of Australian premises, with wireless and satellite technologies expected to deliver speeds of at least 12Mbps to the rest.
However, based on geospatial modelling, the consultants had recommended that the NBN coverage objective be adjusted to take fibre to 93 per cent of premises.
"The implementation study recommended the NBN fibre footprint could be extended from 90 to 93 per cent of premises, and recommends that it also cover the 1.3 million new premises expected to be built by 2017/18," a statement from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's Office said this morning.
"The Gillard Government will accept this recommendation. This means the government will extend fibre to the premise to around 1.6 million extra premises."
The government has not yet formally responded to the implementation study, but the spokesperson noted that it would do so "shortly".
The news comes as Australia heads to the polls to vote in the next federal election on 21 August.
Meeting the percentile increase has upped Labor's commitment to the network. The Federal Opposition has yet to release its own policy on broadband and communications.
AustralianIT reported that the Opposition's broadband policy would see wireless network constructed, which would see an OPEL-style regional wireless model built. OPEL was a project between the previous Coalition Federal Government and a consortium of Optus and Elders that would have seen wireless solutions laid out around rural Australia.