by Byron Connolly

New website identifies NBN blackspots

Feb 20, 20142 mins

The Coalition government has unveiled a new website that lets Australians view the quality and availability of high-speed broadband services in local areas.

NBN Co has the information from the MyBroadband website – launched today by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull – and will consider poorly serviced areas in prioritising the NBN rollout “where this is logistically and commercially feasible”, the government said.

The government also released its full Broadband Availability and Quality Report, which compares broadband quality and availability to home and businesses in more than 78,000 local areas across the country.

The report found that there are up to 1.6 million premises across Australia which have either no access to fixed broadband or very poor broadband connectivity. Peak median download speeds are less than 4.8 megabits per second.

A brief summary of this report was initially released in December.

The primary unit of analysis for the report is the Telstra Distribution Area (DA), a network component of a Telstra Exchange Service Area (ESA) which typically comprises 100 to 200 premises.

Of 10.9 million Australian premises, about 9.2 million are in DAs assessed to have the highest availability rating of ‘A’ where between 80 and 100 per cent of premises in the DAs in this group have access to at least one fixed broadband technology, the report said.

There are around 1.4 million premises in the lowest availability ratings ‘D’ – where only 20 to 40 per cent of premises have access to at least one fixed broadband technology, and ‘E’ where zero to 20 per cent have access.

The Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia have more areas with poor access to quality broadband services compared to the remaining states, the report said.

“In each state or territory, broadband services are generally more available and of higher quality in metropolitan areas than in regional and remote areas.

“Although premises within regional and remote areas that are located close to local telephone exchanges typically have access to higher quality ADSL services, premises further away from exchanges generally do not,” the report said.

Meanwhile, about 9.9 million premises (91 per cent) have access to fixed line broadband services delivered using ADSL technology, and 3.1 million (28 per cent) can access a high speed broadband platform (defined as fibre-to-the-premises, fibre-to-the-node, hybrid fibre coaxial networks, and fixed wireless networks).

About 0.7 million premises (6 per cent) are unable to access a fixed broadband service, the report said.