NBN activations almost tripled to 3 million since 2016: ACMA report

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NBN activations almost tripled to 3 million since 2016: ACMA report

Premises activated on the NBN reached 3.2 million on 23 November, according to a report from the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).

NBN activations grew 122 percent to 2.4 million in the 12 months to June 2017, up from 1.1 million activations in 2016, then accelerated to 3.2 million according to the most up-to-date data.

The NBN rollout took a hit in November when the network builder announced it would halt all deployments of its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) product due to user experience problems. 

NBN Co has claimed it would still hit its target to connect eight million active end users and deliver "a fully connected continent by the year 2020".

 

According to ACMA’s communications report for 2016-17, the increase in NBN connections was part of a wider expansion in connectivity infrastructure investment, especially growth in mobile networks.

The regulator said the investment was required to meet “continued and unabated” demand for data.

Australians downloaded an estimated 3.1 million terabytes during the quarter ending June 2017, up 43 percent in the same period in 2016.

“We are downloading, consuming and creating more data and content than ever before. We are also communicating in ways that we couldn’t have predicted a decade — or even five years ago,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“Where demand leads, investment follows. Mobile operators, for example, announced plans for billion-dollar improvements to Australia’s 4G network in 2016-17, paving the way for more data-intensive activities over mobile.”

Mobile network operators now cover 96-99 percent of the Australian population, and have announced more than $2 billion of investments to improve 4G networks.

Mobile services in operation, which include voice and data, stood at 33.6 million in June 2017, up three percent from the same period last year.

The mobile phone is also becoming the most popular and frequently used device for internet access, although the report suggested users have started to diversify their use of connected devices such as smart TVs.

However, 92 percent of all data in the quarter ending in June 2017 was downloaded over fixed-line broadband.

Fixed-line broadband also contributed to more than 90 percent of the download growth, the report read.

Meanwhile, mobile phone operators are currently trialling the “next wave” of mobile developments — including 5G — while closing legacy systems such as the 2G network.

They are also exploring “emerging” mobile technologies, particularly voice over wi-fi (VoWiFi) and Long Term Evolution broadcast (LTE-B) technology.

The Mobile Black Spot Program added new mobile base stations across Australia, committing a further $60 million to target 125 priority locations, in addition to the $160 million already committed to rounds 1 and 2 of the program.

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