NBN customers finally turning to higher speeds

Angus Kidman 5 February 2016


The National Broadband Network (NBN) is now available in 1.7 million homes across Australia.

More than 1.7 million households can now access NBN services, and for the first time the lowest-speed options are no longer the most popular.

Announcing its half-year results in Melbourne today, nbn (the government-backed company building the network) said that 45% of its fibre customers were on its 25/5Mbps service, with 33% on its slowest 12/1Mbps. In previous quarters, the 12/1Mbps service, which is invariably the cheapest, has been the most popular. 16% are using the fastest 100/40Mbps option, and 5% are on 50/20Mbps.

Data consumption by NBN users has also grown. The average monthly data consumption figure per customer has risen to 112GB; three months ago it was 93GB.

One likely reason for that increased demand for higher speeds is the growing popularity of streaming TV services like Netflix, Stan and Presto, an issue nbn has previously highlighted.

While nbn is now pursuing a multi-technology mix approach which mixes fibre, cable, copper and satellite, the majority of customers are still on fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). FTTP is the fastest option, but is no longer going to be rolled out across Australia. Most people will end up on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), which uses fibre to a neighbourhood cabinet but relies on the slower existing copper telephone network for connections to individual houses. Here's the number of customers on each option as at the end of 2015.

TechnologyCustomers Dec 2015Premises Dec 2015
FTTP610,9781.1 million
Fixed Wireless82,435330,000

Some form of NBN service is now accessible in 1,670,972 premises, with 736,052 having actually signed up. Three months ago, the equivalent figures were 1,383,375 and 610,712.

The long-term goal for the NBN is to serve 8 million premises by 2020.

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