National Broadband Network Cost to Rise

City of Stirling Councillor David Michael believes NBN  fibre to the node is not as good an option as fibre to the premises.
City of Stirling Councillor David Michael believes NBN fibre to the node is not as good an option as fibre to the premises.

A LATE amendment to a motion concerning the Federal roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) was passed unanimously by Stirling Council last Tuesday, representing a potential multi-million dollar cost increase.

The original notice of motion asked the City’s chief executive to write to the Federal Government to request ‘fibre to the node’ at every premises in Stirling by 2017, rather than the 15,000 homes that were initially set to receive it.

Councillor David Michael proposed an amendment to change ‘fibre to the node’ to ‘fibre to the premises’, which was passed unanimously without considerable debate.

The one word amendment represented a major jump in the price of the request put forward by the City of Stirling.

Fibre to the node runs fibre to a neighbourhood pillar, using the existing copper network to connect to individual premises, while fibre to the premises delivers high-speed fibre directly to a property at a higher cost, with faster internet speeds.

Cr Michael said he believed the City should pursue the best option for its ratepayers.

“I thought, lets not lock ourselves in by requesting fibre to the node, if the City of Stirling is going to ask for something, let’s at least go for the best option with fibre to the node not being as good as fibre to the premises,” he said.

“There are several suburbs in Stirling that are well over 100 years old and the copper run up to everyone’s house is pretty old as well and its pretty rubbish and I believe if the council is going to request we get NBN faster than we have so far, then lets go for the best option, not the mediocre one.”

NBN spokesman Michael Moore said it would be up to the City of Stirling to foot the bill for any major upgrades to the current NBN rollout plans.

“While we expect the current approach will meet the bandwidth needs of the vast majority of broadband users, NBN’s Technology Choice program provides individuals, local governments and communities an opportunity to apply for an alternate technology solution by paying the incremental cost of the change,” Mr Moore said.

“The cost generally depends on the size and complexity of the project and can range from tens of thousands of dollars to several millions of dollars for an area switch, and a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for an individual premises switch.”