Govt reveals take-up rates for NBN

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has released details of the rate consumers are taking up the National Broadband Network, confirming recent reports that in areas where the service has been available for more than a year, one in four premises have elected to connect to the service.

Senator Conroy said the take-up rate of 25 per cent was superior to the experiences in other countries, including the US, Europe, Singapore and New Zealand, where take-up rates were as low as two per cent.

The announcement is in response to figures reported last week by the Australian newspaper, which stated that “just one in four homes” were electing to connect to the NBN. The same newspaper reported in November last year that “just one in nine” homes were connecting.

Senator Conroy compared the take-up to the roll-out of Verizon's fibre to the home (FttH) service in the US in 2005. Three years later, it had achieved a take-up rate of 24 per cent. This improved to 37 per cent in 2012.

He said the average take-up after three years in Europe was 21 per cent, and 20 per cent in Singapore after three and a half years.

New Zealand has reported a take-up of less than two per cent for its service, in which 76,000 premises were passed by fibre in August 2012.

"We have not been able to find any jurisdiction in the world that has achieved anywhere near that level of initial success," Senator Conroy said.

He also compared the speed of connection to other internet technologies, including dial-up and ADSL, which had lower take-up rates in their first years of service.

The federal Opposition has been critical of the pace of the roll-out of the NBN and has put forward its own plan of a fibre to the node (FttN) network, which is claims will be cheaper while still providing adequate download speeds.

Former NBN Co head of industry relations and product development, Jim Hassell, said in October that the organisation expected take-up rates to improve once Telstra begins to switch off its copper network.

Mr Hassell said people in 15 areas covering approximately 25,000 homes and businesses are expected to make the switch to the fibre network over an 18-month timeframe as the copper network was decommissioned.

NBN Co has been promoting the benefits of high-speed broadband to several industry sectors, in particular health and aged care.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Comments   

# Keith Heale 2012-12-21 12:37
Comparing the take-up rate for the NBN with other countries' networks is pretty meaningless, and comparing with the take-up of dial-up and ADSL is utter nonsense. Twenty or thirty years ago the Internet was in its infancy and nothing like the resource it is today. Access, whether dial-up or via the initial broadband offerings, was optional for the vast majority of the population. Today, Internet access is regarded by most people as essential for banking, communicating, entertainment, shopping and so on. (Maybe one day for health, but that isn't generally true yet.) Comparing contemporary network offerings is also fraught with difficulty. In how many other jusidictions are subscribers served with a notice that their telephone will be cut off within 18 months? How many NBN subscribers are in new housing estates where there is absolutely no alternative (except mobile phones perhaps)? Take-up rates depend a great deal on the alternatives available as well as the value proposition on offer. It should also be remembered that the actual numbers are tiny: there are fewer than 7000 NBN subscribers Autralia-wide. To claim that the NBN is wildly better than the broadband networks in other countries on the basis of take-up rates is just nonsense. Senator Conroy's media release should be accepted as the political statement that it is.

I believe that the NBN is great technology, and frankly it can't come soon enough (although I think its deployment has been influenced too much by socio-political considerations to the detriment of the Australian economy and parts of Australian society). Of more interest and concern than take-up rates is the rate at which the NBN is being rolled out. NBN Co was formed in early 2009. Its first deployment plan aimed to pass about 860,000 premises by June 2013. This figure was revised down to 341,000 in the latest plan. At September 30th 52,000 premises had been passed, an increase of about 13,000 for the September quarter. For the next three quarters they need to hit 90-100,000 premises per quarter. After that the rollout needs to increase to about 80,00 premises per month for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Attention needs to shift from takeup to rollout: it is on this that the success of NBNCo and its network will be judged. In saying this I am mindful of the fact that the task they're undertaking is incredibly complex and difficult.
# Tim 2012-12-30 11:18
25% take up out of 52,000 is not less then 7,000 Keith. Try again & stop being such a complainer, the rollout is always going to be slow for a project this size & you respond in nothing but questions & you completely ignored the trial & planning time. Try to be positive for a change, were finally getting something better then the mess the private sector put out.
# Dr George Margelis 2013-01-09 16:42
The justification for the NBN is not how fast data moves, but how it can be used to improve Australian's quality of life. Healthcare is one of the main potential beneficiaries. However I suspect the folk at NBN Co still have a very simplistic view of how the NBN affects healthcare. Sure video conferencing is nice, but to make it effective we need an integrated policy which supports innovation in healthcare delivery, not just rewards for a few to use video conferencing to demonstrate high speed broadband in action.
What we don't need are some simplistic NBN demonstrations of video conferencing. What we need is a robust open discussion on how we can transform healthcare delivery and some opportunity for real innovation.
# Garry 2013-02-09 16:37
Deari Kate, There's a VERY good reason the take-up rate for Fibre in NZ is so low... They have one of the best ADSL2+ systems I've seen anywhere in the world.
I was so impressed with the speed (22Mbps) in a little town on the South Island that I spoke to the NZ Minister for Communications and asked him if he could pass on some tips to our Minister. He laughed.
From what I can see our Minister was not advised or chose not to listen :-)
# Garry 2013-02-09 16:48
Quoting Dr George Margelis:
The justification for the NBN is not how fast data moves, but how it can be used to improve Australian's quality of life. Healthcare is one of the main potential beneficiaries. .


Hear! Hear! Dr Margelis.

Unfortunately it's not the NBNCo's role to talk about content and quality. They're just providing the pipes (hopefully based on information such as how much pressure is needed :-)

We DO need the people that are chartered with taking taxpayer money and spending it on quality of life on our behalf to explain what input they've had to the NBN's requirements.

As a potential receiver of the benefits, I'd also like to see some serious demonstrations of the benefits... Video-conferenc ing? I can do that on a piece of wet string.
# Garry 2013-02-09 16:53
Quoting Tim:
25% take up out of 52,000 is not less then 7,000 Keith. Try again & stop being such a complainer, the rollout is always going to be slow for a project this size & you respond in nothing but questions & you completely ignored the trial & planning time. Try to be positive for a change, were finally getting something better then the mess the private sector put out.

Correction Tim. Please check the history. The private sector did not create this mess alone. They were pushed and cajoled into creating this mess by over 20 years of Federal Government mismanagement interference.
Start with "selling off Telstra without understanding the regulatory impacts" or "handing the Internet to Telstra on a platter without unserstanding the impact" or "underestimatin g the take-up rate of telecommunicati ons in Australia".
We should remain positive and maintain robust discussion, but fairly blame where it's due.

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