Buyers of homes in new developments are getting a head start on other Australian residents with access to the national broadband network.
Overall, the federal opposition says progress on Labor’s NBN “white elephant” has been slow, with only 30,000 people signed up so far.
But far from being the costly extravagance the Liberals and other critics have suggested, national network promoters say that if Australia follows an emerging US trend, home buyers will soon make high-speed broadband access a prime factor when choosing where to live.
The aim is to have the network go past 286,000 homes by June, with access possible at every Australian home by 2021.
But home owners in new developments go straight to the front of the queue. The network is already available in 314 new apartment or housing estates around the country.
As fibre optic cable will replace the copper network, it made no sense to install copper in new estates.
An NBN spokesman, Jonathon Grahame, says demand from developers for “fibre” in new projects is very strong.
Nationally, the company has 2497 signed applications to deliver the service to 116,308 premises. And the network is already going past 22,000 lots in new developments.
One of the apartment blocks benefiting from the network is Divercity in the inner-Sydney suburb of Waterloo.
Most of the 153 residents who have moved into the Becton project have signed up for the highest possible 100Mbps plans, while residents in neighbouring streets are more than a year away from getting access to the service.
When Andrew Brown, 26, discovered a cupboard full of wires and equipment while inspecting an apartment in Divercity, he knew he’d found his new home. “I already liked the apartment so when I found it was connected to the NBN it was, ‘OK, cool. Let’s go with this’.”
For Mr Brown, a self-employed graphics and web designer who works from home, internet speed is more a necessity than a luxury. “We get about five times the speed we were getting at our old apartment at Elizabeth Bay,” he said.
It is also cheaper than using the traditional copper internet lines. “It was about $80 a month in Elizabeth Bay but here we’re paying about $60 [a month].”
At Waterloo, Mr Brown, who lives with his partner, Andy, 24, is suddenly very popular.
“Friends are coming over to our home and having a go of our new toy. It’s making them consider moving from the eastern suburbs to Waterloo,” he said.
For those who are not in a new apartment block or housing estate, the wait will be longer. Householders can check the network’s progress by visiting nbnco.com.au and typing in their address.
Story by Anna Anderson, Story source: www.domain.com.au