4 million Australians can get the NBN

Angus Kidman 8 February 2017

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Annoyingly, less than half of them have actually bothered to connect to the broadband network.

Last month, we learned that the National Broadband Network (NBN) is projecting that its rollout will be 50% complete by the middle of this year. This morning, nbn (the company building the NBN) sent out a release announcing that as of this moment, 4 million premises can be connected to the NBN ("ready for service" in NBN jargon), and the overall build is one-third complete. The first clear lesson: nbn's PR team are completely obsessed with making sure we know this thing is sticking to the schedule.

The second clear lesson: to get from 33% finished to 50% finished in the space of four months, the NBN engineers are going to have to roll out that fibre and copper like never before. The project has been accelerating: in December 2014, 778,824 premises were ready for service, while over the next two years, an additional 3.22 million have been added. So it's possible. But it's still going to be a challenge.

The third clear lesson: you can lead an Australian to high-speed broadband, but you can't make them drink. As of February 2, 1,764,661 premises had actually been connected. In other words, less than 50% of the people who could use the NBN are actually using it. As someone who is stuck waiting three years until I got connected (you can check your own status with our NBN Tracker), I find this irritating.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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