NBN Co has seen a more than tenfold increase in the number of people applying to upgrade their access technology as its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) rollout hits scale.
The network builder has revealed it has fielded 2752 applications for “individual premises switches” under its technology choice program as at June 30.
This is more than ten times the 221 applications it reported as having received by March 23 this year.
The lion’s share of these applications - 1205 between September 2016 and June 2017 - are from users wanting to switch from FTTN to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
Another 213 of the applicants wanted to upgrade from fixed wireless to some form of FTTx connection, NBN Co said.
A very small number were not happy with being allocated HFC and were testing the waters for an upgrade to FTTP.
Of the 2752 applications received, NBN Co said 263 had progressed to a quote, and of those 66 had accepted the quote and so the upgrade was progressing.
That would mean 2.4 percent of applicants end up with an upgraded access technology at the end of the process.
When NBN Co last reported these numbers, 13.5 percent of applicants had progressed to construction.
It appears a new mark had been set in the amount paid by an individual for an upgrade: $217,600 to go from fixed wireless to FTTP. NBN Co said the upgrade was currently being built.
However, a Katoomba-based user had knocked back a quote for $149,937 to move from FTTN to FTTP.
These kinds of astronomical quotes could be a thing of the past if NBN Co rejigs the way it calculates them.
“The majority of [the $149,937] figure is related to the cost of equipment in the exchange that NBN Co may not otherwise have had to install,” the company said.
“NBN Co is currently reviewing the way the costs of this type of equipment is allocated and will review this quote as a part of that process.”
Councils raise the stakes
In addition to the growth in individual premises switches, more councils are testing the waters for a possible “area switch”.
Eleven councils across Australia have applied to NBN Co to upgrade their constituents en masse to better broadband technology.
Back in January, NBN Co confirmed two undisclosed groups of premises had opted for an “area switch”, upgrading the access technology used to connect to the NBN.
While the progress of those specific switches is unclear, NBN Co has revealed that more councils are testing their options under the area switch program.
Six of the councils - over half - are in NSW, two are in South Australia, while one council each in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania has an active application.