The company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has added a new functionality to its rollout checker, allowing consumers to find out when they can contact retail service providers (RSPs) to connect their premises to the network.
After adding "ready for service" areas to its rollout map in November, and enabling all consumers to search its rollout map for when they will be connected and by what network technology -- except premises being serviced by hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) technology -- in December, NBN's latest "major update" to its address-checking functionality now provides consumers with information on when they can contact their RSP to connect them, instead of when the network will be built up in their area.
"The number one question we get asked is 'when am I getting the NBN?' and today's update to our website provides the answer to that very question," said NBN chief customer officer John Simon.
"With this in mind, we have moved away from telling people when we'll be building in their neighbourhood to when they can contact their retailer to buy a service.
"The update also means for the tech enthusiasts, who are interested in what kind of technology their retailer will connect them to via the NBN network, that this information is available to them."
NBN had said in December that it was aiming to add HFC properties to its searchable rollout map sometime during 2017, after allowing consumers to see when addresses are in the planning stage.
Those receiving fibre-to-the-premises, fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-distribution-point, and fibre-to-the-basement will not know which fibre-copper mix they will receive until closer to their rollout completion date.
NBN on Monday explained that in many cases, it does not know what technology is available for each particular premises until it has begun construction in that street, making it difficult to individually forecast the technology being used and the timeline for when it will be completed.
"NBN relies on address information from external sources that are outside of our control, which means we do discover the odd exception within our database containing around 12 million locations," Simon said.
"We will continue to update our website as more information becomes available."
Speaking during Senate Estimates in October, NBN CEO Bill Morrow said the online rollout map provides greater transparency than its previously used three-year construction plan.
"As far as individual areas on the three-year map, we have made it perfectly clear that that is fluid and will change," Morrow said at the time.
"The three-year plan that you referred to is when construction will commence, not necessarily when they'll be able to order a service.
"We've heard from this committee that you're looking for greater transparency, we know your constituents are interested in this, and so by the end of the year we'll have that available."
NBN will extend its network rollout to several major cities during 2017, including Sydney, Campbelltown, the Hills District, Warringah, and Randwick, New South Wales; Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast, Queensland; Hobart and Devonport, Tasmania; Fremantle and Bassendean, Western Australia; Salisbury and Onkaparinga, South Australia; and Moonee Valley City, Boroondara City, Casey City, Glen Eira City, and Knox City, Victoria.
The company last month warned of possible civil works disruptions as the rollout reaches cities, with much of the disruption to occur as NBN gains access to pits and existing infrastructure within high-density areas.
"As the NBN network rolls out into cities, we will be met with new problems to solve," Morrow said in January.
"We understand there will be some disruption for residents and business owners ... the intensified deployment will present challenges."
NBN is expected to "almost" reach its halfway point by June 30, with 5.4 million premises due to be able to connect by then.