By STEPHEN HARDY -- NBN Co, the company in charge of Australia’s national broadband network (nbn), says it has awarded approximately AUS$1.1 billion in contracts to four companies to evolve current fiber to the node (FTTN) networks to fiber to the premises (FTTP). The contracts are part of a larger $2.9 billion investment effort toward FTTP upgrades.
NBN Co did not reveal financial terms of the individual contracts. Winners and the territories in which they’ll operate include:
- Downer Group: Western Australia and NSW
- Fulton Hogan Utilities: Western Australia and South Australia
- Lendlease Services: Queensland, NSW, Victoria, and ACT
- Ventia (through its Visionstream subsidiary): Queensland, NSW, Victoria.
The contracts cover the necessary FTTP network design and construction to enable NBN Co to make its highest wholesale speed plans available on demand to up to 75% of Australian households and businesses on the fixed line network by 2023.
NBN Co has identified more than 1.1 million homes and businesses currently on FTTN so far within its upgrade plans, with up to 2 million expected to become eligible for the upgrade, on demand, by 2023.
This is the third phase of the FTTP upgrade program, which began in 2020. The first two phases, which cover the country's Northern Territory and Tasmania, are expected to see up to 200,000 premises passed with fiber. The new phase is expected to address the remaining 1.8 million premises.
First customers should be able to order FTTP-enabled services at some point this year, the company hopes. NBN Co also expects to offer FTTP upgrades, on demand, to eligible customers served by fiber to the curb (FTTC) technology.
“We are very pleased to work with these delivery partners to continue to evolve the nbn network and ensure more Australian homes and businesses can access the broadband services they need to remain productive while working and studying from home, and also to enjoy all of the entertainment and social benefits that high-speed broadband delivers,” commented Kathrine Dyer, COO at NBN Co.
Dyer added, “Not only will this work help deliver greater broadband access to more homes and businesses, but these network investments will also help stimulate job creation and retention through new build activities that would otherwise have scaled down at the end of our initial build."
“We remain on track to achieve our goal of enabling around eight million premises or up to 75 per cent of homes and businesses on the fixed line network to access nbn’s highest wholesale speed tiers, if they so choose, by 2023,” Dyer concluded.