Queenslanders among 164 suburbs still without NBN
Almost 100,000 homes and businesses are still not able to connect to the National Broadband Network even though the $51 billion project passed its deadline two months ago and overspent by $700 million over the past year.
But NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue said he considered the infrastructure project "completed" despite the shortfall and celebrated its role in keeping Australians connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
The progress of the National Broadband Network was revealed in its latest annual report, in what should have been the final financial year of its rollout.
It showed 11.7 million premises were "ready to connect" to the network by the end of June, and 7.3 million households and businesses were actually using it.
That included 600,000 users who hooked up to the NBN between March and June when COVID-19 lockdowns began and thousands started working and studying from home.
The trend raised monthly downloads on the network to an average of almost 300 gigabytes.
But Mr Rue said the company's most important achievement was meeting its June deadline.
"There is, of course, one milestone above all others that I would like to briefly focus on and that is the completion of the initial build of the network as we fulfilled our corporate plan target to make more than 11.5 million homes and businesses ready to connect to this vital piece of communications infrastructure," he said.
"Completing the initial build of this network has been a truly historic milestone for NBN and indeed the nation."
However, Mr Rue admitted "just under 100,000" households and business still were not able to connect to the NBN, and said one in five of those premises would not receive the technology until at least next year.
According to figures from Telstra, Australians in parts of 164 suburbs and cities are still waiting to be connected to the NBN, including 80 areas that aren't expected to be hooked up until December 31.
SEE IF YOUR SUBURB IS ON THE LIST
Homes in another six suburbs - Deniliquin and Moss Vale in NSW, Mallacoota and Moolap in Victoria, Glenella in Queensland, and Stirling in South Australia - won't receive an NBN connection until 2021, while Parramatta and Rosehill in NSW have the latest delivery date of March 2022.
Despite delays, the NBN is due to be declared "built and fully operational" by the Federal Government in December.
Independent telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the number of homes still waiting to be connected to the NBN was a small percentage of the Australian population but put them at a significant disadvantage during a difficult period.
"For the people who are affected, this is not good," he said. "And apart from those 100,000 premises, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are on a poor NBN connection - it could be satellite, wireless, or fibre-to-the-node - where there are still problems. There is still an enormous amount of work to do."
The NBN Co's latest financial report also showed it had spent $700 million more on capital expenditure than forecast in its 2020 corporate plan, or $1.45 billion more than estimated in its 2019 plan.
Mr Rue said the extra spending was down to "timings" and connecting more premises than anticipated.
Revenue for the NBN increased to $3.8 billion during the last financial year, up from $2.8 billion the year before, and average revenue per user increased by $1 to $45 as more took up higher speed plans.
NBN BY THE NUMBERS:
11.7 million premises are 'ready to connect'
7.3 million households and businesses are using the NBN
8.2 million households expected to use the NBN by June 2021
100,000 premises still waiting to be connected
164 suburbs and cities with premises waiting to be connected
295 gigabytes downloaded by households each month, on average
29 gigabytes uploaded by households each month, on average
Originally published as Queenslanders among 164 suburbs still without NBN