NBN Co mulls user-pays upgrade to fibre

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NBN Co mulls user-pays upgrade to fibre

Under pressure.

NBN Co has flagged the potential for the “last 7 percent” of Australian premises slated to receive wireless or satellite services under the National Broadband Network plan an opportunity to “pay the difference” to upgrade to a fibre connection.

Chief executive Mike Quigley said today the network builder faced some “pressures in first release sites from people who are outside that fibre release boundary who want to get the fibre.”

“They’re lobbying their local MPs and we’re getting some pressure,” Quigley said.

“We do recognise that we need to find a way for those people who want to pay the difference.

“If they’re prepared to fund that, it’s something we’ll look at. That’s a process we’re going through at the moment.”

Speaking at a customer consultation event in Sydney, Quigley also provided brief updates on several issues that had impacted NBN Co in the past few months, including its recently-inherited role in greenfields estates.

He said that the number of applications from new housing estate developers seeking NBN fibre in their estates had jumped from 70 in January to 368 applications today.

Quigley expected to inherit another 1,000 pending applications from Telstra.

He said NBN Co continued to work towards building a panel of private fibre builders it could subcontract greenfields work to.

Quigley also addressed a question of whether NBN Co could be affected by a construction skills shortage as it competed with demand for workers in Queensland for the flood reconstruction effort.

He acknowledged it was a “very big issue” but said that NBN Co would “have to manage it just like any company”.

However, he assured taxpayers that the NBN would not “plough ahead” with the network build regardless of what it cost to keep going.

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