Australia’s NBN Co has revealed the latest list of suburbs and towns that will benefit from ‘the extension of fibre deeper into communities’. As part of plans to evolve its infrastructure, an additional 300,000 homes and businesses in premises that are currently served by fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology will become eligible for a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) upgrade, which will enable them to access downlink speeds of up to 1Gbps by 2023.
This follows earlier announcements by NBN Co on the extension of fibre and takes the total number of premises to be covered by the upgrade work to 1.4 million; ultimately, the FTTN to FTTP network upgrade programme aims to enable up to two million premises to access wholesale download speeds of close to 1Gbps, on demand. Such work forms part of a wider AUD3.5 billion (USD2.6 billion) network investment programme which aims to make the National Broadband Network’s (NBN’s) highest wholesale speed tiers available, as demand arises, to around eight million premises by 2023.
In separate but related news, the Australian government has released its new ‘Statement of Expectations’ to guide NBN Co, now that its initial network rollout has been completed. This document sets out ‘clear objectives’ for the wholesale operator, with these designed to ‘maximise the social and economic benefits of the [NBN] and support Australia’s becoming a leading digital economy by 2030’. Commenting, on this matter, communications minister Paul Fletcher said: ‘The Statement … has a strong focus on NBN Co’s ongoing role in improving outcomes in regional and remote Australia, supporting retailers to deliver affordable, reliable and resilient services to consumers, and promoting competition and innovation.’