More than 600,000 homes, businesses and schools across the country still have a chance of being connected to fibre-to-the-premises broadband despite the coalition's vow to abandon the former government's plan.
Many of them will probably miss out, but another 300,000 are guaranteed the service thanks to contracts signed under Labor.
Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has directed NBN Co to continue rolling out fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) across the nation under existing contracts "as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible" while a strategic review of Australia's biggest infrastructure project is conducted.
The internal review will be completed by a new board of directors - following Turnbull's request for the resignations of the current board - within 60 days of their appointment.
Construction is due to commence in more than 1.8 million premises within the next year, with each effectively given a categorisation of a green light, amber light or red light under the FTTP model.
Under an interim statement of expectations sent to NBN Co, the green light has been given to 300,000 premises in areas where construction contracts have been signed.
Detailed network design is under way in amber-light areas containing 645,000 premises where FTTP construction work might begin in time, however it's expected many will miss out.
The remaining 900,000 home and business owners will have to wait for the outcome of the internal review as only preliminary network design is underway in their areas.
The premises that miss out on FTTP will likely have to settle for the coalition's fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) plan, where it is expected slower copper lines will journey the final leg to the premises.
Meanwhile, Turnbull said forecasts for the number of premises passed by fibre cable have again been revised down with it expected to be 729,000 by June 30, 2014, 1.74 million by June 20, 2015, and 3.115 million by June 30, 2016.
A 2010 plan forecast 5.65 million premises would be passed by mid-2016.
Turnbull said while they were aiming to set more realistic targets, NBN Co's rollout process would actually be assisted by the use of a wider range of technologies to connect businesses and homes to the network.
The Competitive Carriers’ Coalition (CCC) welcomed the announcement on an interim NBN Co. plan.
“Minister Turnbull’s announcement today, that he had directed NBN Co to continue with its current roll out of construction of services, whilst undertaking a series of reviews is a positive for service providers and consumers because customers will continue to be connected to super fast broadband,” CCC chairman Matt Healy, said.
“There had been concerns amongst competitive carriers that the incoming Government would stop the current rollout while it undertook reviews – today’s announcement makes clear that current progress will continue so that more and more Australian’s can experience the benefit of super-fast high-speed broadband”
“Furthermore, whilst NBN Co prepares the review findings, service providers have the opportunity to further bed down their transition to the NBN wholesale only, open access environment. NBN will also be required to finalise development of business grade services”.
“It is also pleasing to again hear from the government of its commitment to completing the construction of a fully national new broadband network.”