The NBN Co’s faster service will rival those offered by Google Fiber in the United States as well as fibre networks in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea Photo: AP
NBN Co has accelerated plans to offer gigabit broadband speeds to homes and businesses - 10 times faster than those it offers users today - as it seeks to prove the technological superiority of Labor's $37.4 billion national broadband network.
The company will allow consumers to access speeds of up to 1000 megabits per second by December this year, ditching previous plans for a launch next year. NBN Co head of product and sales John Simon said the new speeds would be made available alongside upgrades to the network aimed at businesses.
"We've had a lot of requests from our [retail service providers] on when we were going to launch our high-speed services so it made a lot of sense that we get them out at the same time," he said. "The network was always designed to provide gigabit so there's no upgrading, we're not doing an overhaul."
The service will rival those offered by Google Fiber in the United States as well as fibre networks in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Sony-backed internet service provider So-net claimed to become the world's fastest residential broadband provider this week as it launched a two-gigabit service in Japan for approximately $50 a month.
However, NBN Co's service is likely to be more expensive than those available in Asia, with its latest corporate plan stating it would charge a wholesale price of $150 per month for the service - four times the price of the maximum 100 Mbps speeds the government monopoly offers today.
The equipment used to deliver those speeds also means that few homes in a given street are likely to achieve those gigabit speeds simultaneously.
The Coalition last week unveiled its proposed alternative broadband policy to restrict direct fibre connections to a much smaller footprint of homes and businesses than promised by Labor, in favour of installing fibre-connected cabinets on street corners and using Telstra's existing copper network for broadband access.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott claimed NBN Co's promised speeds were not yet required for most uses. The Coalition is instead proposing to provide most homes and businesses with minimum 25 Mbps speeds by 2016 and 50 Mbps speeds three years after. Roughly a fifth of homes will continue to be directly connected to fibre, and have access to the same or faster speeds offered by NBN Co today.
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