NBN Co Blog
Thu 12 APRComment
Rome wasn’t built in a day (and why the National Broadband Network will take 10 years)
Posted on Thursday 12 April 2012 by Nichola Parker
For the last few months almost every question asked on the NBN Truck has been "when are we going to get the NBN?"
Australians, especially those living in regional and remote communities, understand the benefits of having access to high speed broadband.
They understand what it will mean for their schools, businesses and health care systems, and they understand that it is the largest infrastructure build in Australia's history.
But, understandably, they want it now. (Actually, yesterday would have been better, but right now will suffice!)
As the phrase goes, though, "Rome wasn't built in a day". This seems absolutely fitting when we're trying to explain to people why the National Broadband Network can't be made available everywhere instantly.
Many people don't know how long it took to build Australia's current copper telephone network. According to the Telemuseum in Queensland, Australia's first government-owned phone exchange opened in 1880 -- but much of the network was still being built at the time of World War II, when midget subs and spitfire fighters were the latest thing.
Since then, the good old phone network has been upgraded many times, but still runs on the same basic technology of copper wires running from telephone exchanges to houses and businesses.
The National Broadband Network is almost a total replacement for Australia's copper phone network, which has served us well, but it is now well and truly time for an upgrade.
The build is set to take around 10 years to upgrade the copper lines across the country, and communities need to be built in a staged roll out.
The three year rollout
The NBN Co Truck was in Bendigo and was part of the very large and very exciting announcement of NBN Co's construction plans for the coming three years that took place on Thursday 29th March.
On this day, NBN announced that by mid 2015, network construction is planned to be underway in areas containing around 1,500 communities, and more than 3.5 million homes and businesses.
In Bendigo, literally hundreds of people, from the council members, Bendigo telco staff and even the team from Officeworks, came through the truck and were excited about what this announcement would mean for Bendigo.
Over the next three years, construction in 18 locations is planned to begin in the Bendigo area, including 29,500 homes and businesses where work will have started in connecting them to the NBN.
Across the state of Victoria, more than 660,000 Victorian homes and businesses are included in the three year plan.
These are big numbers, and it's a lot of work connecting this many premises, but the wait will be worth it -- the NBN is a huge step towards giving all of us access to high speed broadband.
Margaret O'Rourke, NBN4Bendigo Consultant , said "It's a fantastic day for Bendigo - with more than half our premises planned to be underway for connection in the next three years.
"This makes us the third largest announcement nationally, so it's a great result.
"It means we can really capitalise on being a high speed broadband community, with improvements for households and businesses."
On a personal note, my suburb is not included in the three year rollout and -- to be honest -- I felt a little upset that I won't be getting the NBN as soon as I would have liked. So, I do understand the frustration that we have seen in the media about some towns and communities not being announced.
But if you (like me) are in an area that's not going to get the National Broadband Network immediately, it's worth casting your mind back just a few years ago, to a time where there was no plan to upgrade our country's elderly telephone network at all.
I think I would be far more upset with that than today's reality that it's going to take a few more years to roll out the NBN to my area!
It's great to know that the NBN's high speed broadband, through fibre, fixed wireless or satellite technology, is planned to be on its way to every home and business right across Australia's 7.7 million square kilometres.
When we talk about speeds delivered over the National Broadband Network, we are referring to the wholesale speed to telephone and internet service providers. The speed you can achieve, and services you can use, on your individual connection will depend on many factors including the services you subscribe to, the software and communication protocols you use, quality of your equipment and connection to your home/business, the broadband plans offered by your telephone or internet provider and how it designs its network to cater for multiple users.