Australia - National Broadband Network - Developments and Analyses 2016
By 2016 over a million premises were able to connect to the NBN so far most of them have access to the original NBN, three-quarters have access to FttH, the remainder to wireless and satellite networks. The revised rollout of the so-called multi-mix technology (DSL and HFC) started in earnest in 2016.
There still is no long-term plan for when and how to upgrade from the older technologies to proper FttH; however the Opposition has indicated that if it wins the next election it will revive the FttH plan, but will take into account the circumstances that exist at that time.
The good thing is that at this stage the fact that Australia needs an NBN has bipartisan support.
Apart from another two-year delay and more than doubling of the costs, there still is also significant uncertainty about the MTM rollout. There are lots of unknowns in this process and overseas experience shows that it is not all plain sailing and in many cases large-scale replacement of old infrastructure will be required. At the same time rolling out fibre has become significantly cheaper, especially when done by new companies, as is the case in the USA, France, the Netherlands and a number of other players in Northern and Eastern Europe. Most countries skip an MTM rollout and go straight into FttH.
As there are several telcos willing to skip the MTM and go straight into fibre networks competition is arriving in some of the multi-dwelling units (MDUs) in metropolitan areas of the large cities. Competition is heavily restricted through regulation, but companies involved seemed to be eager to compete with the national broadband network company. Also, thanks to a change in regulation, more competition is now possible in greenfield developments.
While the government in mid-2015 revived some of the digital economy strategies that were put in place between 2009-2013 there is still no holistic approach to services such as e-health and e-education. Interestingly we do see cities developing their own strategies around the concept of smart cities. When the government announced its innovation policy it did not include the NBN.
Companies covered in this report include:
NBN Co; Telekom Deutschland; Belgacom; Telekom Austria; Fastweb; Swisscom; Strata Community Australia (SCA); Telstra; Optus; AusBBS; iiNet; Internode; TPG; and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.