A NATIONAL Broadband Network fibre connection – which would have come standard for most homes under the Labor government – could cost thousands of dollars, says a broadband industry expert.
The Coalition has said it will do away with Labor’s fibre-to-the-home plan in favour of the cheaper but slower fibre-to-the-street option.
As part of this, the incoming government says it will only build fibre connections to houses in suburbs that have already been contracted for work.
Those who want a fibre connection capable of the fastest speeds will have to pay for it themselves.
Internet Society of Australia board director Paul Brooks said getting a fibre connection could be an expensive proposition.
It would most likely involve the consumer dealing with their internet service provider, he said, who would then work with NBN Co to get the work done.
The cost would potentially include paying for trenches to be dug and cables to be hauled through Telstra’s pits and ducts.
“It’s going to be more expensive on a user basis. I suspect thousands of dollars is the right number,” he said.
He said putting in a new cable for each customer would take a lot more time and manpower than doing the whole suburb in one hit, as has been happening.
Mr Brooks suggested some ISPs could offer a fibre connection as part of a long-term contract, similar to the way mobile phone carriers do with new phones.
“Maybe you pay that $5000 over 10 years and you sign the contract for that long, then it will become more palatable,” he said.
The Courier first raised the possibility in April that only half of Ballarat would get access to the NBN through a government-built fibre connection.
According to the NBN Co rollout map, parts of Ballarat to the east will get fibre to their homes with areas to the west set to miss out.