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NBN Co FTTB equipment installation won’t be stopped by TPG’s presence

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At a Senate Estimates hearing today, an NBN Co executive said that government-owned company is willing to install its equipment in apartment block basements, also known as multi-dwelling units (MDUs) regardless of the presence of infrastructure from its rival.

“We would expect at some point we would enter into an MDU that may have a competing technology set and we would still intend to deploy,” NBN Co’s chief customer officer, John Simon, said at the hearing.

Simon said that they had a series of options to ensure end users were delivered adequate speeds in a situation where competing equipment was installed in a building.

As a commercial response to TPG’s rollout of its own FTTB infrastructure in apartment blocks, fibre-to-the-basement services are intended to be rolled out by NBN Co.

It was confirmed by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier this year that TPG’s move to offer new FTTB services were within the regulations put in place to protect NBN Co’s business model.

Simon said that they are focusing on geographic areas with a higher penetration of MDUs.

“We also know that there’s a higher Average Revenue Per User, ARPU, that’s associated with those end users and we’re bringing forward the rollout into those areas to make sure that we’re able to both a commercially compete with what else is out there but also more importantly ensure that we provide access to our customers, the Retail Service Providers, who want to go and provide services to those MDUs, Simon said.”

As part of the trial, 12 MDUs have already been hooked up by NBN Co. But Simon said that the trial involved running fibre to each apartment . To deliver the ‘last mile’ connection, existing copper lines in apartment blocks will be used from here on out.

NBN Co aims to connect at least 20 MDUs each month “In the near term”.

Simon said that the take-up rate of services has been above average in the MDUs that NBN Co has so far hooked up. The average take-up in the first month was 6 percent, opposing an average monthly take-up of 4 to 5 percent  for NBN services.

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