With stage one of the NBN rollout announced yesterday, there's a lot of questions over who will have access (and where and when).
Eager Australians from Cairns to Albany have been hitting their computers and smartphones to find out if they’re among the lucky ones slated to receive NBN services within the next three years – but two out of three are going to be disappointed.
That’s the inevitable conclusion after the government announced its long-awaited three-year rollout plan yesterday, barely meeting a self-imposed deadline to deliver the details before the end of March. And, if nothing else, those details are ambitious: if all goes to plan, 3.5 million homes, in 1,500 different municipalities, will be connected to the NBN over the next three years.
Stage one of the rollout mapped out, but you can drill down further using the NBN's Google overlay.
That figure represents around one-third of all premises in Australia, suggesting that the entire rollout could be complete within ten years if the NBN rollout is able to get and keep adequate momentum.
With just 18,200 premises now connected to the NBN and far fewer actually getting internet services over the network, that’s a significant goal. Call it 1,100 days, give or take a few – which means the government will have to connect 31,819 homes to the NBN, on average, every day including weekends.
It’s a massive logistical effort that has every chance of going horribly wrong – but it’s also the government’s most firm commitment to progressing the NBN past its halting early days. And, with most of the legal kerfuffle winding down in the wake of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s decision to accept Telstra’s Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU) – NBN Co is now gearing up to put the proverbial pedal to the floor and prove that it will be able to deliver on its ambitious goals.
But with a federal election looming and the disastrous election result in Queensland confirming the country’s swing to the right, Opposition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull will be watching closely, if his statement
after the government announcement is any indication.
“Judge Labor’s NBN by results, not promises,” was the title of his missive, in which he called the government’s announcement a “duplicitous and ham-fisted attempt to conceal” the fact that the project is running well behind the rollout timeframes it set in its Corporate Plan nearly 18 months ago.
Turnbull also questioned how many services would actually be connected within the government’s timeframe – and whether its suggestion that the 3.5m target includes suburbs where the rollout will have commenced is designed to boost the numbers even in areas where only preliminary work has been done.
Labor can count on Turnbull keeping the pressure on the government in the leadup to next year’s election, by which point the government is hoping to have nearly 1 million NBN homes connected and able to take services. Whether or not he can spin any failure to meet that deadline into political advantage will remain to be seen, but Turnbull’s analysis is filled with numbers that confirm he will be doing his best.
In the short term, however, the question on every Australian’s lips is a simple one: “When can I get it?”
The answer to that question is relatively easy to come by: NBN Co has set up a Google Maps overlay
within its site, so you can search for the status of your own suburb – or find out which mate’s house you’ll have to start crashing at when you want to do some serious web surfing.
To check out your area, click here or skip straight to maps of a few of the areas to be touched in the latest tranche of NBN announcements (this is not an exhaustive list):CBD areas: Sydney
, Hobart Rural centres:
New South Wales: Campbelltown
, Wagga Wagga
Northern Territory: Alice Springs
, Tennant Creek
, Hay Point
South Australia: Freeling
, Kingston Se
, Murray Bridge
Western Australia: Collie
, Southern Cross