NBN Co defends rollout progress

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NBN Co defends rollout progress
NBN construction in progress.

Will meet premises passed targets to June 2013.

NBN Co has maintained that it is on track to meet its target of 54,300 premises passed by the end of the year, despite the figure currently sitting at 32,295.

Appearing before a Senate Estimates committee, representatives for the network builder — which, for once, did not include CEO Mike Quigley —also said that NBN Co would meet the more ambitious target of 213,000 premises passed by the end of June 2013.

Head of product development Jim Hassell committed to provide quarterly updates on NBN Co's rollout progress, in response to a request by Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham for monthly updates.

Together with NBN Co's other representatives — chief communication officer Kieren Cooney, and chief technology officer Gary McLaren — Hassell said that network rollout is entering its major "ramp-up" phase.

While premises passed numbers were examined, so were figures concerning the actual take-up of NBN services — "active" connections.

NBN Co cited recent figures that active connections stood at 24,000, consisting 17,000 interim satellite users, 600 fixed wireless users, and 6400 fibre customers.

Hassell repeated speed tier take-up statistics that he revealed at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne last week.

About 44 percent of fibre users have opted for 100 Mbps broadband speeds, with the 25 Mbps speed tier accounting for 34 percent of fibre users.

Though Hassell said the popularity of the top-tier speed could be "attribute to enthusastic first-adopters of the service", he said some NBN sites just had high take-up rates.

An NBN Co spokeswoman told iTnews last week that take-up of an NBN service averaged 15 percent nationwide, though in some network pockets it could be as high as 40 percent.

Secretary of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Peter Harris said that recent ABS figures showed a “very significant jump” in people seeking speeds above 24 Mbps.

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