NBN not connecting in WA

The number of established homes in WA connected to the NBN continues to lag well behind every other State, with figures revealing only 6 per cent of WA residents passed by the NBN have actually connected to it.

As new NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow outlined a renewed focus on connectivity during the Government-run company's quarterly results yesterday, weekly figures provided by NBN Co show WA is once again the poor cousin of the rollout.

The NBN has so far passed 33,640 established or "brownfields" homes in WA, yet only 2040 have connected to the service. The Northern Territory, with a much smaller rollout scope, is the only State or territory with a worse record, reporting a 3 per cent take-up for established homes.

NBN Co's weekly progress report shows out of the 33,640 brownfields premises passed in WA, slightly more than a third are unable to connect to the NBN, because of technological issues or simply because of a lack of workers to build a connection.

The failure of NBN Co to provide the final connection to the broadband network was highlighted by former Vodafone chief Mr Morrow who said there was "more to analyse, more to improve and much more industry collaboration needed".

Mr Morrow said it was now instructing contractors to install lead-ins and connection boxes to premises at the same time as the fibre was being laid on the street.

It had previously been carried out separately.

"The primary focus for management has been on building the network rather than connecting families and businesses," he said during the quarterly results briefing. "We need to do both and we need to do them better."

One of the factors holding back the rollout in WA is the inability for NBN Cop to contact up high-density apartment blocks.

On Tuesday NBN Co revealed it would accelerate fibre-to-the-basement technology for about 50,000 residents of apartment blocks in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. An NBN Co spokesman said yesterday although trials for Perth were on its radar, there were no concrete plans to trial the technology in WA.

In its quarterly report yesterday, NBN Co reported a $1.117 billion operating loss after generating revenue of $69.8 million in the nine months to March 31.

The West Australian

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