A survey has found more than one in three Australians have no plans to switch to the NBN or don’t actually know what it is, apparently unaware that once the new network arrives their existing telephone and internet connections will be switched off.
The NBN has started running television advertisements to remind Australians to switch to the new broadband network — and the latest survey results from comparison site Finder.com.au seem to justify the expense of the public awareness campaign.
When asked how fast they plan to connect to the NBN once it becomes available for their home, 17% of 2,004 people said they would not make the switch at all. A further 18% didn’t know what they would do or didn’t understand what the NBN was about.
Even among those that planned to switch, 2% said they planned to switch between 18 and 24 months after it arrived in their area, which would also leave those people in the dark as telcos are obliged to deactivate existing copper lines within 18 months of NBN availability.
The total of 37% that would be left in the dark, according to Finder.com.au, is equivalent to 6.6 million Australians. Finder tech spokesperson Alex Kidman expressed surprise that so many people still think the NBN is optional.
“By 2020, every household in Australia will have to switch to the NBN — there’s simply no way around it,” he said.
The NBN, as the new universal communications infrastructure network, completely replaces the existing copper network that landline telephones and many home broadband connections rely on. The organisation stated a goal in January that 5.4 million premises, equivalent to just under 50% coverage, would have the NBN available by the midpoint of this year. It’s aiming for 9 million by June 2018, while the government has imposed an ultimate deadline of end of 2020 for all 11.9 million premises.
Among those that do want to connect to the NBN, the majority wanted to switch over as quickly as possible to take advantage of the theoretically faster speeds. An aggregate of 44% survey respondents wanted the NBN within one month of availability in their area.
“What’s interesting is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground among Australians. There are those who absolutely cannot wait for it to arrive, and then close to two fifths haven’t got a clue,” said Kidman.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, generation Y was the keenest demographic, with 51% hoping to hop onto the NBN within a month. Baby Boomers were also enthusiastic, with 43% wanting to get on within the month, while 40% of Generation X survey respondents wanted to do the same.
While faster internet speeds are a major attraction to switch to the NBN, a series of reports last week in The Australian highlighted how some Australians are receiving very poor speeds compared to what retailers are promising. The method of technology to connect to each household also remains a contentious issue, with the NBN last month having to defend itself for continuing to roll out slower fibre-to-the-node technology to some areas while other locations get faster fibre-to-the-kerb, hybrid fibre coaxial or even wireless.