Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said in a statement on Sunday the build of the NBN is now 99% complete with the 30 June 2020 build milestone achieved one month ahead of schedule “notwithstanding recent bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“Since the beginning of the year, more than 1 million premises have been declared Ready to Connect and more than 600,000 homes and businesses have signed up for an NBN service,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The resilience the NBN has shown in recent months, with more people working and studying at home, underlines the network’s strength and adaptability. The NBN has cemented its place as the nation’s digital backbone for productivity, connectivity and social cohesion.
“In 2013 our Liberal National Government inherited an NBN which was a failing project, with barely more than 50,000 fixed line premises connected.
“We committed to a turnaround – with the NBN to be rolled out four years more quickly and for $30 billion less than under Labor’s plan – and we have delivered. 11.5 million premises are now able to connect, the volume rollout is 99%complete and almost 70% of NBN customers are on 50Mbps or higher plans.
“Over this period NBN’s financial performance has steadily improved, with 2019-20 revenue forecast at $3.7 billion and the company planned to be cash flow positive by 2023-24.
“The company’s priorities from here include continuing investment in, and focus on, driving the performance of the network and progressing the very final stages of the build so that every Australian has access to fast broadband.
“The $6.1 billion in debt finance NBN Co has secured on external markets demonstrates the strong support for the company’s business plan and outlook and the capacity to invest.”
The Minister said the 11.5 million figure in NBN Co’s Corporate Plan is an estimate of the number of addressable premises in Australia, with new premises added every year due to new construction.
He said NBN Co’s 2020-23 Corporate Plan details the “complex connections, such as culturally significant and heritage sites, that will be completed as soon as practicable. Bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have interrupted some planned connections”.
“NBN Co is aiming to make 80% of these complex connections ready to connect by the end of 2020. Of course, new homes are being built continuously - so it will be an ongoing task for NBN to expand its network to make new premises ready to connect.”
Later this year NBN Co will provide formal advice to Minister Fletcher when it considers the volume rollout complete, and the Minister will then request the company undertake a detailed technical assessment of its network, with the outcome of the assessment use to inform the Minister’s decision to declare the network built and fully operational under the NBN Companies Act.