Saturday, August 21st, 2010
Today, peak industry body the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) confirmed that it is likely residents and some businesses will be impacted financially if they require additional wiring and outlets to take full advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Chief executive officer of NECA, Mr James Tinslay, said that once the NBN installs fibre optic cables across Australia, residents will still need to equip their homes with new cables and devices to access aspects of the new technology.

“Installing the fibre optic cables throughout Australia is only the first step in accessing high speed internet and other services the NBN can deliver,” Mr Tinslay said.

“Residents will need to consider what technology they wish to embrace when the NBN reaches their front gate and it is very likely that many households will need to be retrofitted with new cables, wiring and outlets to access new services.

“The retrofit will need to be completed by a registered and certified installer so there is going to be an end cost to residents to have the necessary infrastructure installed.

“A standard retrofit may cost anywhere up to $3000 and even more for a top of the line system. However, the big unknown at this stage is what the cost will be for getting fibre optic cables from your front gate into your living room.”

Another financial consideration for residents will be the emergence of new technology that will assist in providing the full potential of the NBN, including high-speed internet, throughout the entire home.

“To ensure the potential of the NBN is reached, some residents may choose to install fibre optic cables and other devices throughout their homes. These types of installations may assist with the quality of the service from the NBN but it will be more costly than a standard retrofit,” Mr Tinslay said.

NECA has been working with the current government and will continue to work with the newly elected government to ensure the electrical and communications industry has enough skilled and qualified workers to rollout the NBN while undertaking the wiring of new and old houses as the massive infrastructure project evolves.

There are regulatory issues that also need to be resolved so workers currently in the industry can obtain additional qualifications so they can work on the NBN and with the appropriate cables.

It is expected there will be at least 5,000 connections required per day for over eight years and a projected job growth in the area of 25,000 per annum. There is an expected skill shortage of over 10,000 in the short and medium term so training new workers in the industry is critical.

“The government must ensure the training of new workers is comprehensive so the safety of workers and the integrity of the network itself is maintained during the rollout. Building a strong base of skilled and qualified workers will assist in implementing the NBN across Australia.

“A bigger pool of qualified home installers will increase competition and this will assist in keeping the costs down for consumers,” Mr Tinslay said.

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Ian Richardson – President

P: 02 9888 3081





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