NBN Co is starting to send invitations to “more than 50,000” fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) customers to initiate an upgrade to full fibre from today.
It has also finally published a list of retail service providers participating in the upgrade program, with Telstra and Aussie Broadband the two largest names.
The list, however, also has some notable absentees, including majors like TPG Telecom, Optus and Vocus.
There are two ways to get invited to upgrade.
First, FTTN users can register their interest directly with NBN Co here and then if they are part of a released area or zone, NBN Co will notify them via email, along with instructions on how to take up the offer.
NBN Co’s chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb told iTnews that the company had collected about 18 months’ worth of pre-registrations.
“We’ve already got some information about customer appetite,” he said.
“For customers that registered their interest, as their locations then become available, we will be letting them know.”
The second way is to wait for direct marketing or contact from participating retailers, who will have a regularly updated list of location IDs (LocIDs) - unique identifiers for every street address in Australia - that shows which premises are eligible.
“We expect retailers to use their marketing muscle to reach out directly to customers and offer the opportunity to move up to higher speed services,” Whitcomb said.
Whitcomb said the combination of NBN Co collecting pre-registrations and retailers’ own “intelligence around which customers they believe would be looking for higher speed services” meant there was “strong confidence” at NBN Co that the upgrade program “is going to be a success”.
As to the absence of some big name RSPs from the list of participating retailers, Whitcomb said it was “just a question of phasing and timing, and how they layer this in with their own IT workload and go-to-market plans”.
However, he said the company is “very excited” at the early participation list and “very optimistic that we’re going to see strong support from the retailers for the program.”
In addition to Telstra and Aussie Broadband, the participating retailers list includes Superloop, Uniti, Launtel, Exetel, Southern Phone, Leaptel, AGL, Activ8me, and Harbour.
A list of suburbs where the first invitations will be made has been published here.
The company also said it will expand the number of invitations to 230,000 by the end of June and to “approximately 600,000 premises” by the end of 2022.
“It continues to ramp all the way through to the end of next year, at which point we’ll be at a full 2 million just on FTTN alone that will be able to order the higher speed,” Whitcomb said.
There appears to be no change to the qualifying criteria for an upgrade, which primarily requires the customer to commit to a higher speed plan than they have today, that is at least 100Mbps or higher.
Whitcomb added that the FTTN to FTTP upgrade is “one pillar in a broader effort to make very high speed services available to all customers across the FTTN, FTTP, HFC, FTTC [footprints].”
“By the end of 2023, about 75 percent of all customers served by the NBN fixed line network will be able to get speeds approaching a gigabit per second, which we’re really excited about.”