NBN rollout continues to lag

New figures published by small National Broadband Network provider Devoted NBN shows that the fibre network has only passed 1,400 more existing premises so far this year.

NBN Co will need to triple its daily run rate for the remainder of this financial year in order to meet its June target, according to statistics published online by the National Broadband Network (NBN) retailer Devoted NBN.

The figures, first reported by Communications Day, show that since the last reported figures from December 31, 2012 until March 12, 2013, NBN Co has passed an additional 1,411 premises in existing housing areas, bringing the total number of existing households now able to access the NBN to 47,511.

In greenfields, or new housing areas, the number of premises passed is lower than what NBN Co reported last year, 23,272 versus 26,300 reported at the end of December last year. NBN Co said that the figures reported to service providers do not take into account lots where houses have yet to be built.

The government-owned company confirmed the quoted brownfield figures to ZDNet today. The slow start for the year puts pressure on construction companies to ramp up their efforts across the country, as NBN Co has put a target of 286,000 brownfield premises and 55,000 greenfields premises passed by fibre by June 30, 2013.

NBN Co's daily run rate for this financial year is 1028 premises per day in brownfields areas, according to NBN Co's 2012 corporate plan. In order to reach its June target, NBN Co will need to pass approximately 3,456 premises per day for the 69 working days between March 12 and June 30 in order to meet its goal and cover the 238,489 additional brownfields premises.

ZDNet has asked NBN Co whether it plans to revise down its target, but the company had not responded at the time of writing.

Last week, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the parliament that he had heard that NBN Co would not meet its June target, and said that the network could "take in excess of 20 years" to be completed.

He told Sky Agenda yesterday that unlike the policy of his predecessor, Tony Smith, his own broadband policy will be released "many months" before the September 14 election. He said that there will be nothing new in the policy, because he said that he has set out the Coalition's policy in "eye-glazingly technical detail" in previous speeches and articles.

Turnbull has consistently refused to put a price on his policy for a scaled back NBN involving the use of fibre-to-the-node technology. He has said that he would need to see the contracts NBN Co has entered into before any costing can be done. He has also declined to say exactly how long it would take for his network to be completed, but has indicated that it could take up to one-third of the time the NBN is set to roll out.