More NBN users are paying to upgrade last-mile tech

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More NBN users are paying to upgrade last-mile tech

Rises from 2.4 percent to 6 percent of applicants.

NBN Co has revealed more people are agreeing to pay to upgrade their last-mile access technology than a year ago.

The company said this week that of the 898 applications received under its Technology Choice program between July 2017 and mid-March this year, 60 had progressed to construction - a conversion rate of around six percent.

This is substantially up on the last set of numbers NBN Co produced in late August last year, where just 2.4 percent of applicants agreed to pay.

Technology Choice gives customers the option of upgrading their last-mile connection - for example, replacing copper with fibre right up to their home - as long as they are willing to foot the bill.

Numbers of applicants are much higher over the past 18 months compared to any prior period.

This is because anyone wanting to avail themselves of Technology Choice must first wait to be connected to the network before they can apply for that connection to be upgraded.

As larger numbers of fibre-to-the-node users get connected, more such users have tested the cost of moving to a different access type.

The quoted cost can be substantial, with a handful having paid upwards of $100,000 to go through with an upgrade.

However, such large figures are proving to be outliers, and CEO Bill Morrow said last year that the usual cost for moving from FTTN to FTTP ranged from “sub-$1000 to tens of thousands of dollars”, depending on distance.

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