NBN Co has revealed that two undisclosed groups of premises have opted for an “area switch” to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.
The two sites – which could encompass a “community”, unit block or business park – are the first to avail themselves of the area switch option under NBN Co’s so-called technology choice program.
NBN Co provided few details of the first area switch sites other than to say they were “under contract and in progress”.
The company indicated back in May last year that it had provided quotes for two area switches, though it was unclear whether these were the areas that had now progressed to construction.
The current technology choice policy was launched in March 2015 and allows home or business customers that are unhappy with their allocated access technology to pay to upgrade it, often to FTTP.
It costs between $600 and $1000 to apply and receive a quote on the cost of a proposed switch. NBN Co accepts applications both from individuals as well as whole areas seeking to switch.
Until now, only a handful of individual premises owners had used technology choice, though their numbers are increasing.
Back in May 2016, NBN Co revealed only three individual premises had actually accepted a quote and decided to switch to a faster access technology.
The number has now increased to 15 individual premises switches, at an average cost of $22,368, NBN Co said.
Of those 15, 6 are in NSW, and there are three each in Queensland and Western Australia. South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have each seen one premises make the switch.
NBN Co said it had invoiced $356,236 for individual premises switches and – to date - $297,804 for area switches.
However, if the first area switches are sized as NBN Co anticipated in its policy or in line with some previous quotes, the network builder could be looking at substantially higher future revenue from these areas. A Tasmanian council was previously quoted at least $2.7 million for an area upgrade.