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NBN boss has come out fighting against criticism of fibre take up, which is just over 5,500 to date.

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Do you know something we don’t? Mike Quigley and Minister Stephen Conroy, pictured.

NBN Co boss Mike Quigley strongly defended the take up of high speed broadband on ABC Radio yesterday, which can deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps among Australians to date, claiming they were “quite high” compared to other countries.

Over 18,000 premises now have access to the NBN, meaning take up is around 25%.

“Take-up rates on the fibre are ahead of what we expected,” Qugley said according to AAP reports.

Quigley also denied the take-up numbers of 5500 were poor saying “telcos around the world would be quite envious of those sorts of numbers.”

Read: Telstra NBN Pricing $49 + 50GB Here

The trial of fibre broadband to be rolled out to more than 93% of Australia which has already hit rural parts of NSW, Qld and Victoria was not to test take up levels or demand, Quigley insisted.

NBN Co said it had connected its 4000 customers (2315 premises using the fibre optic service and 1700 in rural Australia  via satellite) last year with rollout accelerating in 2012 and aims to connect a further 3 million homes over the next three years.

The former Alcatel Lucent boss also dismissed shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull’s forecast that just 758,000 premises would be connected to the high speed broadband network buy the end of the year as a “slippery use of language.”

Turnbull, who also spoke on ABC Radio yesterday, dismissed the notion that the NBN is already underway as “irelevant.”

The Liberal party has always pledged to pull the billion dollar project if it gets into power, meaning the $36bn plan could be cancelled mid way through rollout.

The NBN Co boss also said the coalition’s broadband alternative to the $36bn NBN combining wireless, fibre and copper technologies would be “difficult” to achieve, as would cancelling the fibre network.

“Once the Telstra deal is done, the whole question of unwinding that deal and still achieving structural separation that the industry has been desperate for for years – it will be a very difficult thing to do,” he warned.

 

The latest defence of the $36bn NBN project comes as Liberal MP and former Optus executive, Paul Fletcher, also criticised what he sees as a poor takeup of the fibre broadband, at last weekend’s Kickstart 2012 tech conference in Gold Coast, citing little enthusiasm for high speed internet in countires like the Netherlands and Japan.

He also insisted forcing consumers to sign up was not the way to go.

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