Figures for NBN remain unclear in Coffs Harbour
THE rate of Coffs Harbour internet users switching to the National Broadband Network might not be as quick as the high-speed connections delivered to customers, but word may be "spreading fast".
It's almost six months since the NBN was officially switched on in Coffs Harbour and the roll-out of fibre optic cable continues in local neighbourhoods.
The figures of how many customers have taken up high-speed broadband, however, remains firmly under wraps.
NBN Co has refused to divulge localised sign-up figures to the media, after an update to the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network last month indicated a "modest" take-up rate in Coffs Harbour.
Technology news site iTnews published an in-depth analysis of statistics where NBN Co chief Mike Quigley last month revealed half of the residents in the first-release sites of Kiama and Willunga had taken up a retail service on the network.
"Another of the mainland second-release sites, Coffs Harbour, displays a more modest take-up rate compared to some of the other second-release sites, but promises to have plenty more connections ready to carry retail services in the lead-up to the election," the report found.
A total of 2600 local premises were listed on the NBN and 268 retail customers.
That's a market take-up rate where 10.3% of Coffs Harbour premises passed by the cable have signed up.
An NBN spokesperson said yesterday there had been a "significant uptake in customers" in Coffs Harbour since the release of those figures, but refused to elaborate with statistics.
Telecommunications market leader Telstra also reported a "surprising" number of customers signing up to high-speed broadband.
Projections for the NBN rollout are that a further 2500 premises will be ready for connection in Coffs Harbour by the end of June.
The rollout then moves to the North Boambee Valley in July and Sapphire and Korora by November.
As the big questions are being asked about the value and advantage of the NBN in Coffs Harbour, one local who has made the switch is adamant he could not return to an ADSL internet connection.
David Laarhoven, who runs a media and marketing business from home, skites about living the digital future through the National Broadband Network as a Telstra client.
"I'd say the NBN has improved my work efficiency and productivity for my business by between 100 and 200%," Mr Laarhoven said.
"A lot of the time I save through the NBN comes with far better speeds in downloading and uploading.
"In our tech-savvy family, we download videos in seconds and play them straight through the smart TV or tablet with no buffering.
"I have to video conference a lot in my line of work and there is no fracturing when I use Skype.
"Because I can contact my clients through Skype I'm saving money in having to travel to fewer face-to-face meetings.
Mr Laarhoven said through Telstra he had virtually signed up to a 200-gigabyte-per-month plan with a monthly fee of $120 - the same cost of his former ADSL 2 broadband plan.