NBN Co's 2012-15 Corporate Plan, released today said: "Following consultation with the shareholder ministers, the 2012-15 corporate plan assumes that end-users will be able to nominate whether or not they want NBN Co to provide battery backup...It is now assumed that 50 percent of fibre end-users will elect not to have battery backup, with a consequent reduction in capital expenditure."
It added that "households current receiving priority assistance for their fixed line phone service will be provided with a battery backup."
The battery would provide backup only for the standard telephone service delivered via the in-home unit's analogue phone port so would be useless for customers taking only VoIP services from their ISP and would also be useless for customers using only cordless phones, which require mains power to operate.
However there have been requests for batteries that will power the phone service for longer than the few hours of the NBN Co standard battery and there is now a push for optional backup power the data services - especially from organisations contemplating providing telehealth and security services over the NBN fibre.
In a presentation on security applications over the NBN at the Security 2012 exhibition in Sydney last month Dusty Morrison, from NBN Co Product Management & Industry Relations, said: "We have had a lot of requests for extended [battery] run time, but that presents some challenges for us. One way would be to have a large number of different [battery] options with different run times but it would be quite inefficient to have to stock all these different options.
"We have also had requests for third party access to battery alarms. These are available to [NBN Co] service providers, but security service providers don't have access to these. One of the options we are considering, and in discussion with the Department on, is to permit third party power supply units [incorporating backup batteries] and to develop a standard for a power interface.
"That way the different options could be developed and managed by industry and that would be more efficient than NBN Co doing it. They would also be able to get access to battery alarms through these units."
He added: "We have had requests for run times of 16 hour plus from the security industry, and for 36 hours plus from the medical industry."
You can read more stories on telecommunications in our newsletter ExchangeDaily, click here to sign up for a free trial...