Construction of the fibre-optic component of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) will be underway or completed in around a third of the country over the next three years, it has been announced. NBN Co, the public-private company overseeing the rollout and management of the superfast broadband network, has released its first three-year rollout schedule for the project, in which it has confirmed that areas covering approximately 3.5 million premises across 1,500 communities in every state and territory in Australia will be included in the first phase. The figures include the approximately 750,000 premises where work is already underway (or scheduled to start this year), including the eight locations where the fibre network is already in service.
Commenting on the development, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said: ‘This is a significant day for Australia’s digital future … Construction contracts are in place and the major commercial and regulatory hurdles have been cleared, giving us the momentum we need to deliver better broadband to every Australian no matter where they live.’
In detailing the scope of ‘Stage 1’ of the rollout, NBN Co reiterated that the network construction will follow ‘a series of design principles that aim to deliver a high speed broadband network in an efficient and cost-effective manner’. Included in these principles are plans to first extend the new fibre infrastructure in those areas where work is already underway, while the deployment plans also aim to balance construction across states and territories and between metropolitan and regional locations, while also making use of available exchange and transit infrastructure as it becomes available. Completion of the entire NBN project is expected to take around ten years, by which time 93% of premises in Australia will be able to connect to superfast broadband services via a fibre-optic connection, while fixed-wireless and satellite alternatives will be put in place to connect the remaining 4% and 3% of the country respectively.