|NBN Co to fast forward forward rollout of wholesale fast broadband to apartments and office buildings in Australia's inner cities to prevent cherry pickers, it was announced today.|
The move is a commercial one, in response to competition for 'high-value customers' from TPG, who is planning to build its own network and connect fibre to the basement (fttb) to 500,000 apartments, and others may also follow, the national broadband company said.
NBN Co's urban hit list is expected to include Sydney's Haymarket, New Farm and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane and South Melbourne. The faster internet service is scheduled to be available mid year.
A full list of areas will be announced in the coming weeks. NBN speeds will be 25 Mbps to all premises and 50 Mbps to 90 per cent of fixed line premises and will use a mix of technologies,
according to an government update, last week.
NBN Co's urban push will allow consumers purchase broadband, phone services from the telco of their choice, after concerns that fttb rollout may require building owners to agree to exclusive supply arrangements with TPG and thereby limit competition.
NBN Co's new CEO Bill Murrow, said the move will means more competition in the market and consumers won't be stuck with just one service.
"Building that signs up to TPG runs the risk of being left with only one retail service provider - TPG itself.
"We believe NBN represents the superior solution for building owners and the families and businesses they house."
There are 44 retail service providers operating via the NBN including Telstra, Optus and iiNet.
Preparations are already underway to deploy the NBN to high-density urban areas, and the rollout is in parallel with the elsewhere in Australia, including priority areas lacking fast broadband, NBN Co confirmed.
NBN Co boss also says he has the backing of the telco industry.
"A clear majority of the industry is opposed TPG's plans or wants the firm to be subject to competition constraints." citing a CommsDay survey, that found almost half of respondents were opposed to TPG's plans to offer Fibre to the Basement to apartments.
Morrow said, "the NBN levels the playing field for Australian telecommunications and creates real and vibrant competition."