50% of Australian homes now have access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) as Australia’s largest-ever infrastructure project continues.
As of June 30, more than 5.7 million premises had access to the NBN, with 2.4 million now having an active NBN service.
This puts the NBN 313,000 premises ahead of target, leaving it on track for completion by 2020.
Rollout has been even more prominent in regional and rural areas.
"The regional, rural and remote NBN build is already two thirds complete," said Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Communications. "With another 14 per cent currently under construction, we will soon reach the 80 per cent complete milestone outside the capital cities.”
This has largely been due to the instillation of 1700 fixed wireless towers, which now serve more than 180,000 customers.
There is further good news for rural NBN customers, with fixed wireless speeds to double to 100 megabits per second download and 40 megabits per second upload by early next year.
The multi-technology mix will see fibre-to-the-curb technology deployed in coming months, which will connect a further 1 million premises, while the NBN’s Sky Munster satellite service will deliver 50% more peak data and double as much off-peak data by October 2017.
"It really is amazing the Sky Muster satellites shoot data down from 36,000 kilometres above the earth to deliver broadband to nearly 80,000 customers -- some of which are in mountain ranges, in the desert, in deep valleys and remote cattle stations,” said Nash.
However, not all the technological uptake of the NBN has been positive.
Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, has revealed that of the 1,423 micro-nodes deployed as part of the NBN, just 16 (1.1%) are in service.
“This is the NBN that Malcolm Turnbull calls a success story – slower speeds, slower rollout and technology that is out of service while Australians are begging for better internet,” said Rowland.
As the NBN nears completion, there is pressure on internet service providers (ISP) to be honest about the internet speeds they can provide.
Consumer advocacy group Choice, is asking customers to sign up to a national monitoring program of ISPs.
“With our latest internet satisfaction survey showing that 60% of Australians who are currently on the NBN faced issues with their provider in the past six months, it’s vital these services are independently monitored to ensure we’re getting what we pay for,” said Choice Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.
Among the main complaints were slow speeds (44%), disconnections/drop outs (42%) and connection (31%).
“We need internet service providers on the NBN to provide reliable services and deliver internet speeds that meet their stated claims,” said Godfrey.