An announcement by the NBN Co. on Monday revealed that just 2315 users were using NBN fibre in 2011, with an additional 1700 rural users on satellite. Some 18,200 homes have been passed by fibre in 2011.
The original NBN 2011-2013 Corporate Plan predicted 35,000 customers by June 2011 and 137,000 by June 2012. It’s not clear how many of those predicted customers were “greenfields” customers who are already on fibre but haven’t been moved over to the NBN because of slower than expected contract negotiations.
The Coalition quickly seized on the weak numbers to once again attack the NBN, with Shadow Communications and Broadband Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying that the information “would be comical except that the joke, the bitter jest, is on the Australian taxpayer and Internet user who is reminded once again of how the NBN Co. is failing to deliver very fast broadband quickly and affordably.”
In spite of the slow start, NBN Co has not revised its rollout schedule and is keeping to its current rollout plans. In October last year, NBN Co released its schedule
for the period between then and October 2012, and the plan includes passing 485,100 new homes with fibre. These include homes in both rural areas and a limited rollout in the major capitals. You can see a full list of the fibre rollout areas here
NBN Co hopes to have 1.7 million premises passed with 570,000 customers by 2013 – the probable time of the next federal election. Its success in achieving that number may well determine if it has enough momentum to survive a Coalition victory.