Halfway mark party! NBN now reaches 1 in 2 Australians
But rather less than half of us have actually signed up.
Call it the National Broadband Network (NBN) paradox. As a nation we love to moan about how terrible our Internet connection is whenever it rains/Brian goes on a downloading frenzy/it's a day with a Y in it. Yet when we do actually get the opportunity to improve by connecting up to a new NBN service, a lot of us simply can't be bothered.
The NBN is now officially past the halfway mark. As of today, 5.7 million homes can potentially connect to the NBN, which represents more than half of the planned 11.9 million total connections. Back in January, nbn (the company building the NBN) predicted it would reach this goal by mid-year.
The fact it has been achieved is worth celebrating, as we don't want any further delays in getting broadband to more Australians. Each week, another 100,000 premises are connected. By mid-2018, the network should be three-quarters complete, with final completion of the initial build in 2020.
But with all that acknowledged, there's a catch: just because we can connect doesn't mean we do. The press release from NBN announcing this milestone provides no figure whatsoever for the number of actual premises connected. But the last public statement on the matter in early June suggested that 2.2 million people had actually signed up. In order for just 50% of us to be on the network right now, another 600,000 people would have needed to sign up in June, which we can safely assume didn't happen. So less than half of us have bothered to connect to the NBN when it has become available so far.
That should change over time. "There are currently around three in four homes and businesses who have signed-up to services over the NBN network following the 18 month window they are provided to make the switch," nbn CEO Bill Morrow (pictured) says. In other words, we get round to switching eventually, but for many of us, we won't make the change until we have to, because the old network (be that ADSL or cable or satellite) is being switched off.
Some people will even miss that boat, because they don't realise that cut-off is absolute. Earlier this year, when the interim satellite service that was rolled out ahead of nbn's full Sky Muster service was shut down, there were still customers who hadn't made the switch, despite repeated attempts to let them know.
We can expect to see that repeated many times over the next few years. The end goal of faster broadband for all Australians is in sight, but I expect plenty more tears and tantrums before we're done.
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.