NBN Co may be able tell consumers what kind of internet connection they will receive from the national broadband network as soon as October, the company revealed today.
NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow told a parliamentary committee overseeing the company’s progress that the company current had a “general sense” of which connection type will be suitable for certain premises under its multi-technology mix (MTM) for delivering national broadband services.
“There has been quite an effort put forward and I would say we are close – within a matter of four or five weeks – to be able to nail this down. That will generally spell out how many premises will be on each of these various technologies," Morrow said.
During the committee hearing, Labor Senator Kate Lundy criticised NBN Co’s three most senior executives for not giving companies and individuals satisfactory information about the rollout to help them make business and personal decisions.
“I don’t think 'before 2020' is good enough for people who are making business decisions as well as personal decisions about where they locate their residence or conduct their business in the absence of information or knowledge,” Lundy said.
NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow said the company was working on a broadband availability model that would tell consumers when a service became available, was under construction, or was in planning phases. The forecast would likely be broken into six month and 12 month time frames.
However, Morrow warned it would not be reliable as a basis for property buying decisions.
“There will inevitably be changes in a decade-long process, and there will be no guarantees that NBN Co can make even if we put a forecast out for six months or 12 months [that says] these are the homes that are next on the list," Morrow said.
"That would be quite risky and problematic, so the advice is that we look at 2020 to have it all completed. We will give some indication soon of when that six month and 12 month forecast will be put together, and in the meantime people can see if they’re in this construction and build preparation phase."
Under the terms of its special access undertaking with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), NBN Co is required to notify the regulator with three-year and one-year rollout plans.
Earlier this year, NBN Co informed the ACCC that it would no longer be able to meet that commitment due to the change in its rollout model from all-fibre to MTM.
Morrow today said NBN Co remained unable to guarantee meeting the commitment.
“I cannot do that until we have concluded these other deals that are uncertain at this time as to when they will be complete,” he said.