NBN Co addresses greenfields problems

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NBN Co addresses greenfields problems

NBN Co has revised its fibre installation process in new housing estates in a bid to address delays in connecting homes to the National Broadband Network.

The network wholesaler, which acts as fibre provider "of last resort" in developments of more than 100 homes, has begun installing customer equipment in homes before connecting homes to the network or provisioning backhaul.

It hopes to solve delays of as much as six months in activating NBN services for some residents in new housing estates.

Industry sources told iTnews that the delays had caused some developers to opt for a rival fibre installer rather than the Government-subsidised option in order to get the work done in time.

An NBN Co spokeswoman confirmed "around 100 premises" had been affected by the delays, meaning residents had moved into new homes without an active telephone or internet connection.

Some users on telco user forum Whirlpool recounted difficulty in activating an NBN service in situations where they had moved into a new home ahead of the official go live date for connections in that development.

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NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley acknowledged the problem this week, attributing delays in provisioning backhaul to a lack of duct infrastructure in new regional or outer-metropolitan developments, requiring additional installation by NBN Co.

"Fibre builds in excess of six kilometres for each of these estates are the norm now," he told a Senate estimates hearing this week.

"Taking on the wholesale universal service obligation for these estates before we have a network is obviously not easy so it's no surprise it's taking some time.

"We're working hard to meet the demand of developers and solve this timing problem - we're confident that we will."

He said Telstra would likely be asked to provide "interim telephone services" in new developments where delays had occurred in new developments.

An NBN Co spokeswoman could not clarify how many of the 100 premises affected have applied for such a service.

Telstra did not respond to questions at time of writing but it is believed any such service is likely to be provided off its Next G network rather than new copper or fibre lines in new developments.

NBN Co's revised process would allow new homes to be "activated when the network is operational".

But correspondence between NBN Co and greenfield developers, sighted by iTnews, show the wholesaler could not guarantee a "standard delivery timeframe" for network connections in new developments, due to the time differences in connecting a greenfield estate to backhaul around Australia.

NBN Co has planned to roll out fibre in 264 new developments so far this year, covering nearly 13,000 premises.

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