About 93 per cent of premises in Australia will receive fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) while the remainder 7 per cent will be connecting to be NBN through wireless or satellite technology.
Concerns have been raised during an ongoing inquiry into the potential of the NBN from towns that have been earmarked for wireless or satellite NBN services that fall just outside locations to be receiving fibre.
Consumer advocacy group, Digital Tasmania, wants the Federal Government to allow consumers to have a say on whether their towns will get fibre or alternate broadband access technology.
At a parliamentary hearing in Sydney, NBN Co chief, Mike Quigley, said the cost to provide a fibre connection increases exponentially for premises beyond the 93 per cent fibre footprint.
But he acknowledged concerns of towns that were excluded from fibre.
Quigley announced NBN Co will be trialling a “network extension process” at the seven new Tasmanian sites in the next stage of the NBN rollout.
According to the NBN Co chief, the process will allow for the fibre reach to extend to some towns initially excluded.
“We know there are people who are saying they want to get the fibre as well,” Quigley said. “We are trialling …'a network extension process', that is, if an individual or group of people say “look, we’re not inside the fibre footprint but we want the fibre anyway’, [there is a] process of doing that.
“We have been approached by some council prepared to fund the [cost] difference.”
An NBN Co spokesperson said the process is currently in development but will be consistent with the Statement of Expectations issued by the Government in December.
In the Statement, the Government urged NBN Co to consider allowing communities to fully or partially fund the extension of the fibre network to requested locations.
NBN Co would only seek to recover the incremental costs incurred in those extensions.
The Federal Government had been criticised for “delegitimising wireless” broadband by fervently pushing fibre as a superior technology.