Finder to the Node: “Slow” NBN rollout costs taxpayers thousands as new roadblocks emerge

Alex Kidman 10 October 2018 NEWS

Politicians using costly mobile broadband workarounds to get around NBN issues and the next big rollout challenges are in this week's round-up of NBN news.

Slow NBN rollout led to $2,000 excess data bill

Many Australians have expressed their frustration with the pace of the NBN rollout, and most of us haven't had other options to play with.

Not so for Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert, who hit the headlines after it emerged that he had claimed costs for a home broadband bill of up to $2,832 in a given month. That was for usage above the 50GB limit on his plan, with Roberts stating that he had no other options due to the lack of ADSL and slow rollout of the NBN near his home in Nerang on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Mr Robert has now stated that he'll pay back the excess costs charged to taxpayers and that an unlimited NBN connection has now been hooked up to his home.

NBN's economic future the next roadblock

The national broadband network has been a hotly contested political issue ever since its inception, but as we race towards its completion, still targeted for 2020 according to NBN Co's current forecasts, the political debate is switching to its economics.

According to reports on ZDNet, Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has stated that it's imperative that there is "less emphasis on the issues which have been the focal point for the last five years, and a greater focus on the medium-term policy settings – namely, the economics of the NBN.

"Looking forward, this becomes the main game ... it would be sensible for the major parties to identify common ground on the next steps where feasible to do so."

Rowland is seeking work to ensure service guarantees for NBN connections are undertaken as well as a commitment to deploy fibre to the curb (FTTC) in fibre to the node areas where construction or design hasn't yet started.

Or will FTTC be the next roadblock?

Ask new NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue what the next roadblock will be, and he'll say something entirely different, telling Computerworld that the rollout of services originally slated to be fibre to the node (FTTN) but now set to be fibre to the curb (FTTC) will be the network builder's "biggest challenge".

"FTTC means that we are taking fibre very deep into the network" he said. NBN Co is working with partners to "explore every possible avenue for speeding up the build."

Finder to the Node is a weekly round-up of all the latest news surrounding Australia's complex National Broadband Network.

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