NOT ALL Tasmanians will receive the fibre to the home broadband connection originally promised under the National Broadband Network, NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski has said.
It is the first time the company has said there would be a change in service since a strategic review into the project requested by incoming Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year.
Dr Switkowski told ABC radio in Hobart this morning that all Tasmanian homes connected to the NBN by the end of this year would receive a fibre connection, but the remainder of the network would be rolled out using a mixture of infrastructure.
He said he understood many people would be disappointed by the change of plan.
``The reality is using the existing copper network, in this case, will give most people a speed experience vastly in excess of what they can actually use, and under the current plan, that is being developed, most Tasmanians will get access to higher speed earlier than would otherwise have been the case.''
Dr Switkowski said a mix of copper wires, telstra infrastructure and new fibre networks could deliver up to 50Mbps, less than the between 100Mbps and up to 250Mbps peak speeds promised under the fibre network, which he said was sufficient for all but the ``most demanding commercial users''.
He said laying new fibre networks in streets serviced by existing networks was ``overbuilding infrastructure.''
``I think the incoming government appreciated the economic reality of all that, I think believed, as I do, that the broadband experience of existing infrastructure is fit for purpose for the next five to 10 years at least and provides us with a steady upgrade path, so I am not sure that I would see the current proposal as a reversal as such.''
TasICT chief executive Dean Winter said Dr Switkowski's announcement was ``disappointing''.
``Mr Turnbull must explain and justify his decision to downgrade Tasmania's NBN rollout,'' Mr Winter said.
``If it is on the basis of cost, then he should release NBNcos analysis of those costs so that we can have a clear understanding of why the decision was made.''
Mr Winter said NBN Co should prioritise the full fibre to the premises roll-out to Tasmanian suburbs most in need of the faster speeds, such as commercial hubs.