NBN customer quoted $150,000 for fibre extension

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NBN customer quoted $150,000 for fibre extension

A South Australian resident just seven kilometres by line of sight from the Adelaide central business district has been quoted $150,000 to upgrade to a National Broadband Network fibre connection.

NBN Co this week confirmed a verbal quote given to to Matthew Wilkinson, an employee at the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, to receive the user-pays connection.

Wilkinson was slated to receive a fixed wireless connection to the network but, due to geography and line of sight issues with proposed nearby towers, believed he would likely be left relying on NBN Co's satellite service instead.

"To be within sight of the CBD ... and have to resort to using a satellite service for broadband is just crazy," he said on the Whirlpool user forum.

Wilkinson sought a quote from NBN Co to upgrade his home to be serviced by NBN fibre.

He said the fibre extension would stretch1.3 kilometres from the nearest NBN network boundary at the end of Charlick Road in the Adelaide suburb of Crafers West.

An NBN Co spokeswoman confirmed the quote, which she said was verbal and may change, pending Wilkinson's decision to apply for a formal quote.

She said the extension quote included only the incremental fibre construction costs of building out the network from the nearest fibre distribution hub, a total length of 3.3 kilometres from the property.

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"We will be performing detailed designs and quotes for adjacent fibre network extensions in your area, in approximately February 2013," Wilkinson was told in an email from NBN Co.

Wilkinson said his house, one of a number of newer properties along the road, was well-served by a Telstra Top-Hat RIM with ADSL2+ access, along with pit-and-pipe infrastructure installed along the road two years ago.

"Are they trying to scare off potential applicants with exhorbitant verbal estimates, that are nowhere near the actual cost being incurred?" Wilkinson told CRN sister site iTnews.

One source in the industry suggested lack of infrastructure could require NBN Co to spend up to $120,000 to build new pit-and-pipe over the 1.3 kilometre distance in a built-up area.

However, in semi-rural areas, at typical industry costs, that figure could come in under $50,000.

Should Telstra infrastructure — either aerial or underground — prove sufficient, the cost would be significantly less again.

"I now feel they stopped at the council boundary, for no other reason than it was a different council area, even though the existing infrastructure is being served from an adjacent council area," Wilkinson said.

"Telstra didn't stop their pit replacement/rejointing project at the council border, why is the NBN stopping the fibre there?"

NBN Co's fibre extension policy, released last month, allows users within eight kilometres of a fibre access node, but outside of the fibre footprint, to request a connection to the NBN, provided they pay the incremental cost of rolling out the fibre.

Communities and large towns of less than 1000 premises would be able to request fibre connections, but would be slugged with the additional cost of fibre backhaul and any access nodes required.

The network wholesaler has also left the door open for those receiving satellite access to request an extension of the fixed wireless network to a location near their premises.

The move to formalise the process comes as several communities outside of the fibre footprint continue to push for the fastest possible connection to the network.

NBN Co quoted a cost of $1.2 million to deploy fibre to the regional Queensland town of Julia Creek last year under pressure from Liberal senator Ian McDonald, while a group of remote towns in the same state have continued to lobby the Queensland and Federal governments for a part of the $24 million funding they estimate is required to deploy fibre in their area.

The company had trialled the process in Tasmania last year, but only resident took up the formal quote. NBN Co refused to reveal pricing for that resident.

Wilkinson said pulling in support from neighbours to split the cost of the fibre extension could bring down the individual costs of connecting to the network.

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