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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 479

Broadband

(Question No. 721)


Mr Christensen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 3 November 2011:

(1) By what date is the National Broadband Network (NBN) scheduled to be rolled-out in the electoral division of Dawson.

(2) Which towns in this electorate (a) will, and (b) will not, have a fibre optic cable connection to premises.

(3) Through which towns in this electorate will the NBN fibre connection pass without being connected to premises because the towns lay outside the NBN's agreed fibre connection zone.

(4) What is the estimated cost of connecting premises to the NBN in each town in this electorate in the year it will be rolled-out, and the subsequent two years.

(5) What is the estimated monthly cost of NBN provision for an average household in this electorate in the year it will be rolled-out.

(6) Why was the electoral division of Dawson not included in the first tranche of NBN funding.


Mr Albanese: The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) By what date is the National Broadband Network (NBN) scheduled to be rolled-out in the electoral division of Dawson.

As outlined in its 2011-2013 Corporate Plan, NBN Co forecasts it will take 9.5 years to build the NBN. It is expected to be completed by December 2020.

NBN Co has not yet indicated dates for the fibre network rollout in the electorate of Dawson. However, NBN Co has now released its first 12-month national rollout schedule. The rollout schedule will be updated each quarter to include new locations and is available on NBN Co's website.

NBN Co plans to complete the rollout of its fixed wireless network, including to some communities in the Dawson electorate, by 2015.

On 1 July 2011, NBN Co launched its Interim Satellite Service (ISS) which offers improved broadband services to homes and small businesses unable to access to a metro-comparable broadband service, ahead of the introduction of a long term satellite solution in 2015.

(2) Which towns in this electorate (a) will, and (b) will not, have a fibre optic cable connection to premises.

Indicative coverage maps published by NBN Co suggest that Mackay, Seaforth, Proserpine, Airlie Beach, Ayr and Home Hill in the electorate of Dawson may be served by fibre to the premises technology.

NBN Co's maps indicate that communities in the less densely populated areas surrounding the towns of Mackay, Seaforth, Proserpine, Bowen, Ayr, Home Hill, and south of Townsville, may be served by next generation fixed wireless technology providing speeds of 12 megabits per second (Mbps).

All remaining premises will be served by satellite technologies providing speeds of 12 Mbps.

These maps are indicative only and the precise optic fibre footprint will only be known when NBN Co completes its detailed suburb-by-suburb, region-by-region designs for the network.

(3) Through which towns in this electorate will the NBN fibre connection pass without being connected to premises because the towns lay outside the NBN's agreed fibre connection zone.

NBN Co's current network planning for the fibre footprint includes the assumption that, where transit backhaul passes communities with greater than 500 premises, the fibre footprint may be extended to cover these communities. Under these current network planning guidelines no community with less than 500 premises, even if passed by the fibre transit backhaul routes, will be connected to fibre.

The precise optic fibre footprint will only be known when NBN Co completes its detailed suburb-by-suburb, region-by-region designs for the network.

(4) What is the estimated cost of connecting premises to the NBN in each town in this electorate in the year it will be rolled-out, and the subsequent two years.

NBN Co's detailed expenditure forecasts for cost to pass particular premises are commercial-in-confidence. Information on the expenditure associated with the rollout can be found in NBN Co's Corporate Plan.

(5) What is the estimated monthly cost of NBN provision for an average household in this electorate in the year it will be rolled-out.

NBN Co offers a wholesale-only service, and monthly retail costs are a matter for retail service providers. However, prices for NBN plans released to date compare very favourably to existing ADSL plans, while delivering a superior end user experience and the option to upgrade to faster speeds not available over the copper network.

For example, Exetel has announced NBN plans starting from $34.50 for a 12 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload service with 20 gigabyte (GB) data allowance. iiNet has announced NBN plans starting from $49.95 per month for a 12 Mbps service with 40 GB of data allowance. Retail service providers also offer a range of plans with significantly higher speeds and data allowances for interested customers.

Importantly, there is no additional line rental fee with NBN services, as typically charged by retailers for an ADSL service. Service providers such as Exetel and Internode provide a phone service at no extra charge with their broadband plans, and iiNet offers a phone service for an additional $9.95 per month with their broadband plans that includes free local and national calls.

The government expects that retail service providers will continue to announce competitive NBN pricing plans in the coming months.

(6) Why was the electoral division of Dawson not included in the first tranche of NBN funding.

The first and second release sites were selected by NBN Co network planners and engineers because they represent the diverse situations the company will encounter during the network rollout. The sites provided an opportunity to test and document different design and construction techniques in a range of situations. The sites offer significant variety in terms of geography, housing type and density, local infrastructure and other local factors.

In terms of the volume rollout schedule, engineering and logistic requirements have determined the order of sites being rolled out. Those requirements include access to core NBN infrastructure, such as the transit network and fibre access nodes.