By mid 2016 over two 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.
After the Coalition Government won the 2016 federal elections, any debate about changes to the underlying infrastructure as the roll out of the multi-mix-technology (MTM) is now getting too far advanced. However, the NBN company has indicated that it does have a road map towards providing fibre deeper into the residential network.
Apart from another two-year delay due to the political changes to the NBN - and more than doubling of the costs, there still is also significant uncertainties about the MTM rollout. There are lots of unknowns in this process and overseas FttN 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 and the complex and expensive NBN wholesale offerings for smaller platers. Companies are therefore eager to look at how to bypass the NBN and as such compete with the national broadband network company. Advances in wireless technology especially in comparison to what a second rate NBN can deliver will also see more people opting for wireless access.
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 mention the important role the NBN can play here.
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.
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