Millions of homes and businesses are set to gain access to ultra-fast broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second in an upgrade to the National Broadband Network.
The $4.5 billion network investment plan will give up to 75 per cent of fixed line premises, or 6 million homes, across regional and metropolitan Australia access to ultra-fast broadband by 2023.
This includes two million households that can access high-speed plans by requesting an extension of the fibre network from the street to the home.
Millions of homes and businesses are set to gain access to ultra-fast broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second in an upgrade to the National Broadband Network
Another 2.5 million households can upgrade to the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network, and a further 1.5 million through the newer fibre-to-the-curb network.
It will be financed through NBN Co borrowing from private debt markets.
Australians wanting quicker web speed can have their household connected by fibre to the network for free, but will pay higher prices for their broadband plan in line with the $149 a month paid by consumers already connected directly by fibre.
The plan will involve on-demand fibre to the node upgrades, capacity upgrades on the hybrid fibre coaxial network and work on the fibre to the curb network.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Australians have a growing appetite for faster broadband speeds.
‘This is the right time for this network upgrade,’ he said, ahead of a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday.
‘There is a long term trend of broadband demand growth with a very significant spike this year as COVID-19 has changed the way we use the internet.’
‘If a customer doesn’t ask for it, we won’t roll the fibre to your home. If the customer demonstrates that he or she has got the demand, then we will roll the fibre [out].
‘This is totally consistent with the approach we’ve followed for seven years, which is being responsive to demand and tailoring the rollout to demand.’
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who announced the original NBN, has previously slammed the Federal Government for ditching the fibre-to-the-home rollout.
‘Labor’s NBN would have connected 93 per cent of premises with superfast fibre-optic cable & the rest by wireless/satellite. The Liberals butchered it,’ Mr Rudd said in June.
From an economic perspective, the NBN is estimated to increase Australia’s GDP by $6.4 billion a year by 2024, including $1.5 billion into regional areas.
The $4.5 billion network investment plan will give up to 75 per cent of fixed line premises across regional and metropolitan Australia access to ultra-fast broadband by 2023