Queenslander pays AU$200k for NBN fibre

NBN's technology choice program has seen one person pay more than AU$200,000 to have their fixed-wireless connection replaced with full fibre.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The National Broadband Network (NBN) company has revealed that one customer has chosen to pay more than AU$200,000 to have fibre rolled all their way to their home.

In response to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice, NBN said the highest quote it has provided for an individual switch from fixed-wireless to fibre to the premises (FttP) under its technology choice program was AU$217,600 in Shaw, Queensland, with the service being built now.

"A single end user applying for a technology choice upgrade will typically pay a significant amount, particularly if theirs is the first request in the area," NBN said.

"In order to provision an FttP service for one end user, significant, complex work is often required at the exchange in order to transmit an FttP service. As a result, the most effective way to lower the price for a tech choice switch would be to aggregate demand amongst multiple end users in the same area."

The highest figure provided in a quote for the switch from fibre to the node (FttN) to FttP was AU$149,937 for a single premises in Katoomba, New South Wales -- with the quote declined by the applicant.

"The majority of this figure is related to the cost of equipment in the exchange that NBN may not otherwise have had to install," NBN explained.

"NBN is currently reviewing the way the costs of this type of equipment is allocated and will review this quote as a part of that process."

As of June 30, NBN had received 2,752 individual switch applications: 1,090 in NSW; 503 in Queensland; 460 in Victoria; 275 in Western Australia; 232 in South Australia; 136 in Tasmania; 29 in the Australian Capital Territory; and 27 in the Northern Territory.

Of these, 1,205 were to switch from FttN to FttP; 213 from fixed-wireless to FttX; and 35 from hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) to FttP.

From these applications, NBN supplied 263 quotes -- 143 in NSW; 35 in Victoria; 42 in Queensland; 16 in South Australia; 12 in Western Australia; nine in Tasmania; five in the Northern Territory; and one in the ACT.

NBN has proceeded to construction on 66 of these quotes, revealing in May that as of March 23, it had made over AU$500,000 from its individual tech choice program -- AU$225,305 in application fees and AU$371,590 in design and build fees.

At that time, the highest quote provided for an FttN-to-FttP switch was AU$61,600, with the average cost for those who have been provided with a build quote standing at AU$15,800. The lowest cost involved charging a customer AU$983.

In addition to individual switch applications, NBN further revealed that several area switch applications are currently being progressed by Clare and Gilbert Valley Council; Corowa Shire Council; Council of the City of Ryde District; Council of Copper Coast; Federation Council; Lismore City Council; Murrindindi Shire Council; Narrandera Shire Council; North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils (NEWROC); Urana Shire Council; and West Coast Council.

ZDNet reached out to each council for comment, but did not receive any responses by the time of writing.

Previously, one Tasmanian council had requested a refund on the fee it was charged by NBN for a cost analysis of upgrading two regions from FttN to FttP, as it said the quote was not detailed enough to warrant a AU$10,000 fee.

The estimate was between AU$2.75 million to AU$3.3 million for the Westbury and Hagley region upgrade, and AU$2.2 million to AU$2.75 million to upgrade Hadspen and Travellers Rest.

In another answer to Senate Estimates QoN published this week, NBN revealed that the average upload speed on its FttN network was 28.8Mbps, with a median upload speed of 30.9Mbps, as of July 2, while the standard deviation of FttN upload speed distribution was 13.1Mbps. The maximum upstream rate is 40Mbps.

NBN said 19,144 nodes have been deployed for its FttN network as of June 19.

Its fibre-to-the-distribution-point/curb (FttDP/C) network will have expected average copper drop lengths of 30 metres, NBN added.


Also during Senate Estimates Questions on Notice, NBN revealed that it has spent AU$8,635,000 (GST exclusive) on its marketing campaign labelled "Gen NBN", which was kicked off in January.

NBN had last said in May that the campaign had cost it AU$7.8 million excluding GST.

"We actually can see that there is a return on this. The brand image, the attractiveness, and of course the desire to take up the services sooner make the amount of spend -- and it is less than AU$10 million ... is well worth the investment," Morrow had previously told Senate Estimates.

NBN said this spending was delivered within its budget, "which was allocated based on the optimal audience reach to drive activations on the NBN".

The campaign was slated to run until the end of FY17, with NBN saying it would then evaluate the effectiveness through a quantitative research study and a reach and frequency assessment.

An early qualitative study on the ad had found that it was effective.

"The campaign pre-testing identified that the proposed advertising delivered against its core objectives and reinforced it had a strong message of inclusiveness and access for all generations, as well as the sense of societal benefits," NBN said in June.

"The final 60-second ad was tested against the Kantar Millward Brown total Australian database norm, which resulted in it performing in the top 10 percent of ads tested."

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