As our Planhacker tables have been demonstrating for quite a while now, there are already a good number of NBN plans to choose from. But if what you've seen so far hasn't tickled your fancy, it's worth remembering that the vast majority of ISPs which intend to sell NBN plans haven't yet announced them.
At a media briefing on the NBN Co rollout in Sydney today, we were reminded that there are now 40 providers who have signed NBN wholesale agreements. However, while that represents 95 per cent of the marketplace (unsurprising in a world of shrinking ISP choice), only 26 per cent are currently offering plans. The idea that what we have is all we'll get it is one of the more common NBN misconceptions.
As Alex discusses in more detail over at Gizmodo, NBN Co also addressed the issue of how the sites which are in the next three years of the rollout plan were chosen. As chief operating officer Ralph Steffens explained:
To reiterate this from an engineering perspective: it's a straightforward exercise but then an incredibly complex one to pull off. Once you have announced your first sites, you need to build from there . . . You cannot build a patchwork across the nation, because that would be pretty much the most inefficient way to build the network. .. If we start somewhere in the region, we keep going until we're finished. It's just common sense; once you start you're going to finish. That's pretty much how we determined the rollout. You've got to start somewhere and you've got to finish somewhere. Somebody has to be the first and somebody has to be the last.
Steffens also reaffirmed that while the current range of NBN plans top out at 100MBps, the network will offer faster speeds in the future.
The world doesn't stop at 100MB just because that's our current product offering. We are thinking about [1G and beyond], we are looking proactively at it.
Upgrading speeds requires changes to the hardware at exchange and GPON level, but not to the actual fibre connected to homes.