NBN has laid out the areas that will be available for the testing of its fibre-to-the-node (FttN) upgrades ahead of its general release and users being able to place orders with ISPs in March.
Released today, Castle Hill in Sydney, and Salisbury, Golden Grove, and Osborne in northern Adelaide are the initial service areas for upgrades of FttN to full fibre connections. Additional areas in Castle Hill will be made available at the end of November, before Elizabeth in Adelaide, Holsworthy and Liverpool in Sydney, and Lyndhurst in Melbourne are added on January 27.
In February, Berwick South in Melbourne is set to be added, as well as Gepps Cross and Croydon in Adelaide. The final batch pencilled in for 20 February 2022 are service areas in Cannington and Girrawheen in Perth.
For fibre to the curb (FttC), a single batch of service areas is due to be available for testing on March 14. In Adelaide, this will be Elizabeth and Croydon; Kogarah, Springwood, and Revesby in Sydney; as well as Seaford and Coburg in Melbourne.
Testing for FttN will run until March 21 next year, with the last order able to be placed on March 14, and until 9 May 2022 for FttC, with last orders called on April 28. NBN said it wouldl not be accepting test orders over the holiday period between December 20 and January 10.
The test agreement [PDF] states that a limited number of spots are available under it.
"For reference, NBN presently expects that the maximum aggregate number of test orders that will available under this test that must be shared by all participating RSPs will be: For the FTTN Network: 500; for the FTTC Network: 25," the agreement says.
NBN later clarified it kicked off its testing in September with a small number of retailers, and would allow retailers to place an order to connect 6,000 premises in November, with around 25,000 to be eligible in total throughout the trial. It added that it has completed deploying new fibre to 17,000 premises in New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia, with another 325,000 premises around Australia having construction of local fibre extensions started.
The company said it has so far rolled out 3,100 kilometres of new fibre.
While FttN users need to order a plan faster than 100Mbps to receive an upgrade, FttC users need to place an order for a plan over 250Mbps to get a full fibre connection.
On Monday, NBN announced the next 200,000 premises that would be able to upgrade from FttN, leaving only 400,000 premises remaining to be announced to complete the company's two million premises able to upgrade target.
"We are on track to achieve our goal of enabling around 8 million premises or up to 75 per cent of homes and businesses on the fixed line network to access NBN's highest wholesale speed tiers, on demand, by the end of 2023," NBN COO Kathrine Dyer said on Monday.
Updated at 17:36pm AEDT, 9 November 2021: Additional information from NBN.