One third of NBN premises passed can't connect

Exclusive: NBN Co has revealed to ZDNet that 55,700 of the 163,500 brownfields premises passed by the NBN's fibre network could not order a service.

Figures released under Freedom of Information have confirmed that one third of existing premises NBN Co had counted as being "passed" by the fibre network as of the end of June this year could not order a service on the NBN.

In rollout figures released in July , NBN Co said that it had met its revised target of passing between 155,000 and 175,000 existing premises by fibre at 163,500, and the company had also met its target of passing between 35,000 and 45,000 new premises by fibre at 44,000.

There had been controversy at the time of the announcement, as NBN Co would not confirm the number of premises included in this figure that could then call up a retail service provider and order a service on the NBN.

It had been speculated that as many as 55,000 premises in places such as apartment blocks or shopping centres were unable to connect to the service due to issues that NBN Co had with obtaining permission to access those lots.

ZDNet has confirmed through a Freedom of Information request that of the 163,500 premises passed as of June 30, 107,800 premises could order a service through a retail service provider on this date. NBN Co confirmed that the one third of premises that could not order a service were mostly located in apartment blocks, office blocks, or other multi-dwelling units.

"The majority of the remaining premises are MDUs (multiple dwelling units), which will be able to be connected in accordance with NBN Co's MDU processes."

All of the 44,000 premises passed in new housing areas were able to order a service according to NBN Co.

Despite the 55,700 premises passed that cannot actually order a service on the network, the company has defended its use of this terminology.

"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."

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