WA slow in NBN take-up
WA has the equal-lowest takeup of the National Broadband Network in the nation, with new figures revealing less than 40 per cent of people with access to the network have actually connected to it. Figures calculated by The
West Australian from NBN reports show only 39.9 per cent of the 334,000 homes “ready for service” in WA use the service.
It is the same figure for South Australia. In the ACT, where the vast majority of residents have access to the superfast fibre-to-the-home connection, there is a 63.5 per cent take-up rate.
Tasmania has a 51.4 per cent rate, while Victoria (46.7), Northern Territory (44.8), NSW (42.2) and Queensland (41.8) follow.
The low take-up rates come on the same day the government-controlled nbn declared the $56 billion rollout was “ontrack” to reach the whole Australian population by 2020, with nbn reporting September quarter revenue of $181 million — a 148 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Industry insiders suggest the low take-up rates in WA are in part because of the slower pace of the rollout compared with States such as Tasmania — the first State to have a significant coverage — and the ACT, which has a much smaller area to cover.
Residents have 18 months to connect to the NBN before their existing line is disconnected and the telco industry often refers to a resulting lag period as residents wait for the period to lapse — or for their existing contracts to expire — until connecting.
Other industry insiders have spoken about a general lethargy with the NBN, while others have talked about consumers putting it in the “too-hard basket” and ignoring the new technology for as long as possible.
An nbn spokeswoman said the take-up rates in WA were “in line with its expectations”.
However, she said the Federal Government-backed company would like to see faster take-up rates in WA.
“Especially given the increasing demand in WA for access to faster, more reliable broadband,” the spokeswoman said. “We have a robust marketing campaign and community engagement program to inform and educate people about migrating to the NBN network and what they need to do once their area is ready for service.”
The NBN has passed 3.2 million premises nationwide. As of last month, 133,613 WA homes and businesses were connected to the service.
Shirley Int't Veld, WA's only member of the nbn board.