NBN will finish Canberra rollout in 2019 'ahead of target'
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NBN will finish Canberra rollout in 2019 'ahead of target'

Work on the National Broadband Network is forging ahead come rain or shine as the federal government pushes to finish the ACT rollout by early 2019.

Although the initiative has been plagued by criticism in recent months, NBN Co spokeswoman Marcela Balart said more than 171,000 properties in the ACT would be connected ahead of schedule.

NBN Co field supervisor Dallan Stanton inspects a network node in Garran.

NBN Co field supervisor Dallan Stanton inspects a network node in Garran.Credit:Karleen Minney

"Currently more than two in five ACT premises can connect to the NBN access network," she said.

"This equates to more than 93,500 households and business in the ACT that are able to order retail services and includes premises in parts of Crace, Bonner, Civic, Deakin, Queanbeyan, Kambah and, more recently, Scullin."

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A progress map of the nbn rollout in the ACT. Nbn service is available in the purple areas, while the brown shows areas where construction is underway.

A progress map of the nbn rollout in the ACT. Nbn service is available in the purple areas, while the brown shows areas where construction is underway.Credit:NBN Co

In the ACT connections to the National Broadband Network come in three "fixed line" forms – fibre to the premises, fibre to the curb and fibre to the node.

About 70 per cent of Canberra properties would receive a fibre to the node connection, which uses a common network box to connect the surrounding area, Ms Balart said.

On a rainy Monday morning NBN Co field supervisor Dallan Stanton opened-up a node cabinet in the suburb of Garran for inspection.

"Each node cabinet can connect around 300 to 400 properties," he said.

"Depending on density, that means a cabinet will either connect an entire suburb or a block of houses."

About 10 per cent of Canberra properties would receive fibre to the curb, with construction in areas such as Deakin, Monash, Woden and Barton starting early next year.

Properties in Gungahlin and across the border in Queanbeyan would receive fibre to the premises.

In addition, NBN Co deployment manager Neil Watt said 373 rural ACT properties in harder to reach areas would be connected through the Sky Muster satellite.

"All the residential areas will be connected by early 2019," he said.

"On any given day we will have 200 people in the ACT working on the NBN. Right now we are working in the Deakin area, which covers Curtin, Chifley, Garran and Hughes."

Much of the recent criticism directed towards the NBN has focused on delays in getting on to the network as well as the slow speed of internet connections.

"It is important for people to understand that speeds experienced over the NBN access network are determined by a range of factors, such as the technology used to deliver the network," Ms Balart said.

"As well as some factors outside of NBN Co's control like equipment quality (eg modems), software, broadband plans, signal reception, in-home wiring and how retail service providers design their part of the network."

A recent report by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman revealed there were 27,195 complaints about the NBN last year, an annual increase of 159 per cent.

"NBN is rolling out the network as quickly and efficiently as possible and we are on track to provide access to fast and reliable broadband to all Australians by 2020," Ms Balart said.

"It's worth noting the rollout of the NBN access network is one of the most complex and ambitious initiatives to be undertaken in any market across the world."

Steven Trask is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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