WA slow in NBN take-up

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Sas

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.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis

Shirley Int't Veld, WA's only mem­ber of the nbn board.

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