A record number of “data-hungry” families could have access to faster internet under a plan to replace unreliable connections.
Two million homes are now eligible to request an upgrade to their old cooper services with full-fibre at no additional cost.
But it comes with a catch: Households must take out a higher speed plan through their internet provider to be eligible.
The upgrades are part of the National Broadband Network’s fibre upgrade program, which was bolstered by a $2.4bn investment in the 2022 October budget.
An average household now has 21 connected devices and the NBN expects that number to only grow in the coming years.
“The need for broadband will reach levels never seen before over the next decade as the internet transforms the world and how we live, so we are growing the network to stay ahead of that demand,” chief customer officer Anna Perrin said.
“We encourage customers to check with their internet provider to see if their plan has enough speed and data inclusions.”
Should a household upgrade, they’ll be able to download the latest Call of Duty game in under 30 minutes compared to potentially seven hours on an older connection, the NBN claims.
The government included the $2.4bn it promised at the election to expand access across the country, including to connect over 660,000 premises in regional areas, in the 2022 October budget.
About 500,000 homes across Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, are anticipated to benefit from the upgrades.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the investment would allow more Australians to dump their “old copper service”.
“These upgrades are great news for data-hungry families, and a boon for businesses who need fast broadband to take advantage of an increasingly digital economy,” she said.
Fibre-to-the-home was a feature of Labor’s NBN plan which was dumped by the Coalition after the 2013 election.
It argued the mixed technology approach, which used the existing copper network, would allow for faster rollout.