TPG's NBN rival reaches 352 buildings

TPG's fibre-to-the-building network has reached 352 buildings in a year since first launching the service, according to data from Whirlpool cited by the Department of Communications.

The Department of Communications has relied on crowd-sourced data from Whirlpool to report that the network set up to directly compete with the National Broadband Network has managed to reach 352 apartment buildings in just over a year since its launch.

TPG began rolling out its fibre-to-the-building network across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth in March last year with the aim of reaching out to 500,000 apartments.

The company faced some initial hurdles, including getting the approval of the competition regulator, and setting up a separate retail company -- Wondercom -- to sell services on the network in order to comply with a licence condition imposed on it by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The company's rollout appears to be moving fast, with the network now reaching 352 buildings, according to figures published on broadband enthusiast forum Whirpool and cited by the Department of Communications in response to a Senate Estimates question on notice.

The department said TPG was operating in 352 buildings, with another two buildings in development, and an additional 14 buildings planned, linking to the Whirlpool source document.

The Whirlpool knowledge page has said that the list of buildings "does not claim to be an exhaustive list" of buildings in the TPG network but was developed from various sources including Whirlpool posts.

TPG had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. At last reporting, the company had 19,000 customers on an NBN service or the company's fibre-to-the-building service.

ZDNet has asked NBN to disclose how many buildings it has connected under its own fibre-to-the-building plan.

Many of the questions put to NBN in the last round of Estimates were not answered by NBN, with the company citing that many of the financial forecast figures would be included in the next Corporate Plan, which the government has yet to make public.

The company did, however, reveal the current uptake of the different speed tiers available on the NBN fibre-to-the-premises service. The company reported:

  • 41 percent of customers were on 25Mbps down, 5Mbps up
  • 35 percent of customers were on 12Mbps down, 1Mbps up
  • 18 percent of customers were on 100Mbps down, 40Mbps up
  • 4 percent of customers were on 50Mbps down, 20Mbps up
  • 1 percent of customers were on 25Mbps down, 10Mbps up.

NBN has previously disclosed that there are 5 customers on 250Mbps down, 100Mbps up services. There are also 34 services ordered on the 1Gbps down, 400Mbps up service but NBN believed none of these were actually being used by customers.

"Our information is that none of these is being supplied to an end user. So they were either ordered by error or are being used for testing by [retail service providers]," a spokesperson told ZDNet.

"That said, we bill for them and receive the revenue, so from an NBN view they contribute to our bottom line."

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday praised NBN for meeting its June 30 rollout targets set under the revised rollout. As of the end of June, the 1.143 million premises were able to order a service on the NBN.

The vast majority of these premises -- 648,000 existing homes, and 188,000 new homes -- have been connected via fibre-to-the-premises. NBN has yet to launch commercial services for its multi-technology mix model of the NBN that will include fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-basement and hybrid fibre-coaxial.

NBN expects the FttN services to launch later this year, with HFC services due to launch in the second quarter of 2016.