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NBN rollout posts strong performance

Business

The rollout of Australia’s new superfast broadband network NBN is gaining traction as the company in charge of building and operating the service delivers strong results.

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NBN Co reported Friday that revenue more than doubled to $164 million for the six months to December 31 from $65 million a year earlier.

Average revenue per user – a key figure for the telecommunications industry – rose 10 per cent to $43 a month over the six month period from $39 a year earlier.

The number of homes and businesses with an NBN service rose to to 736,000, with NBN breaking the 10,000 activations a week threshold in December, NBN said in its interim results statement.

NBN charges other companies, including Telstra, SingTel’s Optus and TPG to access its fast broadband network, and they in turn resell the service to their customers.

Around 450,000 homes and business were added to the NBN footprint in the first half of fiscal 2016, which means that the number of premises that can order an NBN service reached nearly 1.7 million.

Chief executive Bill Morrow said the performance “solidifies 2015 as a year where we met or exceeded every target the board set for the company, and is a clear signal we will reach our fiscal year goals”.

“There is accelerated growth across all areas of the network, while important milestones are continually achieved with customers, industry partners and the NBN workforce,” Morrow said.

NBN was established by the Federal Government in 2009 to build and operate a national superfast fibre broadband network.

But after a review of NBN’s plans and costs, it was decided to use a mix of technologies, including Telstra’s existing copper network.

The bulk of the NBN network will still consist of fibre cables, but the final part of the network that connects to homes and office buildings will use Telstra’s existing copper network.

Some industry experts argue the change will slow broadband speeds.

The design of the NBN network will be guided by the government’s policy objectives of providing access to download data rates of at least 25 megabits per second to all premises, and at least 50 Mbps to 90 per cent of fixed line premises.

Initially, the NBN network was forecast to cost $41 billion, but the cost has ballooned to between $46 billion to $56 billion.

The Federal Government will cap its investment in NBN at $29.5 billion, with the remainder required to complete the network to be funded by the private sector.

The rollout of the NBN network is expected to be completed by 2020.

AAP

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