There's cost-cutting on the way for NBN Co. New CEO Bill Morrow has pledged to stop excessive wastage for the fledgling national broadband network, and one area where there could be savings to be found is in the NBN end-user equipment actually delivered to customers' homes — in short, you might have to pay for the modem that hooks you up to the Internet.
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At the moment, when the NBN is hooked up to your house, it's installed with a network termination device, and a battery backup is included. All you have to do is connect a wireless router to get high-speed 'net throughout your house.
But, according to documents witnessed by the Australian Financial Review and circulated around the telco industry, a proposal from NBN Co to release itself from the end-user installation process would mean that if you want to get the NBN up and running, you'll have to pay for the privilege.
If this proposal goes ahead at the national broadband installer, it will pass fees further down the line; NBN Co may offer an installation service at a cost to wholesalers and end users in the future, but for the time being, telcos like Telstra will need to supply their own modems which will need to be installed either by professionals or by the homeowner.
Telstra already charges an activation fee for its NBN service, but this change would bring the NBN into line with existing ADSL2+ connections — so you could be up for a couple of hundred dollars or more.
Backup batteries are also gone from NBN Co's installation plans. The batteries, which provide power to NTDs in the case of a blackout — important, since phone calls and medical monitoring services are necessarily delivered over the NBN — were made mandatory with all installs under a Labor government directive. Since NBN Co won't be supplying batteries, that directive will fall to ISPs.
At the end of the day, since NBN Co isn't going to be shouldering the cost of these installations to homes and businesses, ISPs will pass on the cost to consumers. As a homeowner, you'll have to pay to get your house hooked up with the NBN, as well as paying an ongoing cost for your high-speed Internet access. [AFR]