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NBN Co hastens 1000Mbps internet speed launch

James Hutchinson and David Ramli (via AFR) | April 19, 2013
NBN Co has accelerated plans to offer gigabit broadband speeds to homes and businesses - 10 times faster than those it offers users today - as it seeks to prove the technological superiority of Labor's $37.4 billion national broadband network.

But some have questioned the need for gigabit speeds.

"The evidence so far from the Asian markets where gigabit services are available is that - from a residential perspective - there is simply no possible usage for that speed at the moment," information telecommunications analyst Tony Brown said.

"Of course, whilst it's possible that might change - some folks insist it will - there are no guarantees on anything in the fast-moving world of technology. Right now, in all honesty, the most useful thing about having a gigabit service is boasting to your friends that you have it."

Mr Simon said, "it's the old story, we can never predict what's going to happen out there . . . I think we'll find as applications and innovation continue to [evolve] they'll keep on using it."

NBN Co has claimed 36 per cent of users where the network is currently available had chosen the highest available broadband speed of 100 Mbps.

"That's well above the level we have in our corporate plan," Mr Simon said at the CommsDay telecommunications conference last week.

"Now it is early days so we would expect these numbers will move around, but given that we're talking serving 20,000 end users that are now using this service it's a reasonable sample of what people are electing to choose in terms of speed, and what they expect they want to use for their broadband services."

The speeds will come three years after NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley broke ranks during the 2010 federal election to announce plans for a gigabit service on the back of reports the fibre network would be outdated by the time it was completed in 2021.

Mr Quigley and NBN Co executives are set to face a slew of questions about the Coalition plan and slowdowns to the network rollout on Friday at a parliamentary committee hearing.



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