That’s the question many northern rivers residents are asking, plagued as many of us are by paying high prices for third-world internet services.
Well now NBNCo says it’s done a ‘major upgrade’ but, wait for it. It’s not to the quality of their rollouts but to the widget that tells you when you will ever get it.
According to the company, some one-third of Australians can now receive broadband on a comparable scale to most other countries.
But perhaps because of the timing of the media release, the company’s search widget is exceedingly slow. Or maybe that’s the fault of my six-megabit ADSL internet connection.
Living in rural Binna Burra, I am told I could already be connected to the NBN – but only via the much-maligned SkyMuster satellite, which had some 24 thousand people signed up still waiting to access the service as of last September.
But despite the slow searching I did manage to turn up some positive results.
Murwillumbah first up
Murwillumbah is first in line, with fibre to the node FTTN due to come online there in July this year.
Reasonably close behind will be Byron Bay and Lismore, both of which can expect FTTN to be available by December.
In Mullumbimby, Alstonville and Lennox Head, it could be as late as December 2018 before residents can apply for their FTTN connection.
Ballina will get its fibre to the curb connection completed at around the same time.
The clear loser will be Bangalow, which won’t get the NBN until its final roll-out phase in 2020 – and even then only the slower fixed internet service will be available.
NBN’s chief customer officer, John Simon, said the number one question people ask is ‘when am I getting the NBN?’.
60,000 homes a week
‘On average we are making the network available to around 60,000 new homes and businesses each week, so it stands to reason that there is growing interest in when the network will be available across the country,’ he said.
‘With this in mind, we have moved away from telling people when we’ll be building in their neighbourhood to when they can contact their retailer to buy a service,’ he added.
‘We have been working hard to provide as much clarity as possible on the rollout for the majority of Australians, but as is the nature of this business, people need to be prepared for change.’
Mr Simon said it was ‘not until we are in the streets that we have a clear view of the technology available to individual homes so there are times where a different solution is determined to be better than that which was planned.
‘The sheer size and complexity of the network build means there will always be a need for flexibility on our technology choice and service availability dates.’
He added that NBN ‘relies on address information from external sources that are outside of our control, which means we do discover the odd exception within our database containing around 12 million locations.
‘We will continue to update our website as more information becomes available,’ Mr Simon said.