iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby. Picture: John Koh/The West Australian.
iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby. Picture: John Koh/The West Australian.

Perth's iiNet has demanded more clarity over the rollout of the NBN, with the internet provider saying it defies belief that more WA homes and businesses do not have access to the network.

Speaking at a Senate Select Committee meeting in Perth yesterday, iiNet representatives described the NBN rollout as a "policy vacuum" that needed to stop focusing on simplistic factors such as download speeds.

In evidence described by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam as being like a "bucket of cold water", iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said the NBN required a new set of goals.

"There seems to be no objective (the NBN) can point to and say, 'If we achieve that - be it 60,000 more jobs or $20 billion in exports - (then) that's the benefit'," Mr Dalby said. "NBN hasn't got that to look at, instead we've got a general feeling that there's lots of things that we could do, in education, public health or entertainment, whatever it might be.

"That's how you do it in business, you establish targets and you go after them."

Current figures from NBN Co show fewer than 10,000 WA customers are connected to the network. The State lagged behind Tasmania, where 13,750 customers are connected.

Of the 9737 activated in WA, just 748 are existing homes. This is despite 14,500 deemed "serviceable" and 25,600 deemed "premises passed", meaning the NBN ran past their home but they still could not connect to it.

iiNet NBN product manager Rachael McIntyre said it "defied belief" that so many WA homes were waiting for a connection.

"Many of these people (with premises passed) have been waiting more than 12 months," Ms McIntyre said during evidence.

"The delay has caused more confusion."

iiNet currently services 25,000 NBN customers across the country and about half of the WA homes connected to the service.

Commenting on claims it was a waste of money to build a fibre network when wireless would supersede the technology in the future, iiNet acting chief executive David Buckingham said the company saw a future where the two services worked in tandem.

The West Australian

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