Fuming Aussies quoted $10k for service neighbours get for free: 'Absolutely crazy'

In the first half of 2024, the NBN recorded over $2 billion in revenue.

NBN employees installing the broadband service on a suburban Aussie street.
Sydney locals have slammed the NBN for quoting them $10,000 for a service upgrade some of their neighbours have been offered for free. Source: NBN

Aussies quoted $10,000 to sign up to the NBN's new fibre rollout have blasted the "absolutely crazy" price in the middle of one of the worst cost of living crises on record — especially given some of their neighbours have been offered the service for free.

Locals in Sydney's west say that some homes have qualified for the new fibre upgrade, while others merely metres away have missed out and have been told to cough up out of their own pocket.

It's prompted a Federal MP to call for a review into the scheme, particularly in light of the NBN recording a revenue of $2.75 billion in the first half of 2024 — up five per cent on last year, according to NBN Interim Chief Executive Philip Knox.

Western Sydney residents Leon, left, and Ash, right, have not qualified for a free NBN upgrade.
Western Sydney residents Leon, left, and Ash, right, have not qualified for a free NBN upgrade and have been told to fork out $10,000. Source: ACA

Glenmore Park resident Ash slammed the bizarre saga, branding it "absolutely crazy". The IT specialist, who regularly works from home, said he went online to sign up and was quoted $10,000.

"That's what NBN wants me to pay to provide fibre to my house when it's available three houses away," he told A Current Affair. Another resident, Leon, who lives less than 20 meters from the connection point, also has to pay despite neighbours both behind and beside his house qualifying at no cost. Others in similar boats have labelled the scenario "unfair" and "ridiculous".

Penrith MP Melissa McIntosh said when Aussies catch wind of what's going on, it's "not going to sit well".

"Getting told they've got to pay $10,000 to a company that is making profits, I don't think that is going to sit very well," she said. "There's so many people across Western Sydney doing it so tough right now in this cost of living crisis.

"The people of Glenmore Park are not asking for a handout, they're just asking for a decision by the NBN to be fair and balanced."

According to the NBN, it's simply "uneconomical" to provide free access to all Australians, a decision that came down to "the pit and pipe infrastructure that's available", it said at a recent Senate Estimates.

A spokesperson for the NBN said cost was only one factor in a whole host of variants making up the decision in who has to pay and who does not.

"Locations which are eligible for a free fibre upgrade are based on a range of factors, including cost," the spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

"This approach enables NBN to deliver fibre upgrades to as many homes as possible. While most homes in our fixed line footprint will be eligible for a fibre upgrade, there are some locations, such as small parts of Glenmore Park, that are not included in the upgrade footprint at this time."

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