Just months after the company behind the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, nbn, celebrated its five million premises ready for service milestone, the City of Adelaide has lamented the network’s sluggish arrival in the South Australian capital.
“The City of Adelaide is only 15.5 square kilometres, yet the rollout of the fibre network is planned to take some two years,” chief advisor to the City of Adelaide, Steve Harrison, told the Parliamentary committee reviewing the network’s rollout, in a public hearing on 27 June.
“We respectfully suggest that this is not agile or fast enough to allow out city residents and businesses to be globally competitive,” he said.
Harrison’s comments mirrored the content of the City of Adelaide’s submission, dated 23 June, to the government’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, which is currently undertaking an enquiry into the network’s rollout.
In its submission, the City of Adelaide suggested that, while it supports the rollout of the NBN as “transformational infrastructure” and “an enabler to the delivery of 21st century innovation”, its rollout in the city thus far has been less than ideal.
“Within the 15 square kilometres the city will have virtually every type of broadband technology mix. Fibre-to-the-Premise (FttP), Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN), Fibre to the Building (FttB), Hybrid Fibre [Coaxial] (HFC) and the new Fibre-to-the-Curb (FttC),” the submission stated.
“Depending on your service provider (telco) this could mean very different broadband services and speeds from an everyday, practical use,” it said.
As with similar complaints from other councils and regional bodies from around Australia, issues raised by the City of Adelaide seem to have as much to do with local NBN retail service providers (RSPs) than they do with the network itself.
“The costs to actually get access at the types of speeds that businesses that we’ve consulted with that they are seeking are excessive. And it’s not just the costs, it’s the reliability of connectivity,” City of Adelaide information management associate director, Peter Auhl, told the committee.
“We don’t have so much of an issue with nbn, the issues are more with the telcos, the RSPs,” Harrison added.
The issues raised by the City of Adelaide come less than a month after nbn talked up the speed with which the network is now being rolled out.
In late May, nbn revealed its latest deployment figures, with the rollout hitting five million premises ready for connection, and the pace of the rollout picking up, with 250,000 premises made serviceable each month this year, as of May.
According to nbn, the fibre-to-the-node (FttN) and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) deployments were driving the increased rollout pace, with the two technologies now serving half of the five million premises able to connect to retail services on the network.
Meanwhile, on 23 June, Macquarie Telecom Group senior manager for industry and policy, David Forman, revealed that nbn is currently the broadband access provider of “last resort” for the company, citing “unsatisfactory” service and slow migrations.
“At the present juncture, the NBN is our access provider of last resort when we acquire a new customer or when a customer changes the nature of their services,” Forman said at a Parliamentary joint committee hearing on 23 June.