NBN's basement-dive begins in earnest

Apartments lined up for March service launch

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NBN Co, the entity building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has started identifying which apartment blocks are to get its fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) rollout, with 43 blocks totalling 6,000 premises on the current plan.

Around 2,000 of the premises in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney (the latter receiving the bulk of the initial rollout) are expected to be ready for NBN Co's proposed launch of commercial services in March.

The remaining 4,000* will be ready for service by the end of June.

With only a short cable run from basement to apartment, and frequently relatively new infrastructure to work with, the trial FTTB deployments in 2014 had communications minister Malcolm Turnbull trumpeting peak speeds over 100 Mbps.

With rival telco TPG's own FTTB rollout indefinitely on hold, NBN Co will get itself a hard-to-challenge first-mover advantage.

The rival telco found itself baulked by regulation: neither the ACCC nor Turnbull were willing to let TPG take exclusive rights to properties, so it was going to have to offer wholesale services to its rivals.

The company shifted its cherry-pick rollout to the backburner during December, and Vulture South reckons it's unlikely to resume. ®

*Bootnote: This story originally said "The remaining 6,000 will be ready for service by the end of June." Apologies for the error. ®


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