According to Archers Body Corporate Management, unit owners may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars if they own one of the 900,000 premises no longer guaranteed full fibre to the premises' (FTTP) connection.
The federal government put the NBN rollout on hold last month while it undertook a strategic review of the network, leaving the optic future of nearly one million Australian premises in doubt.
Under the previous government’s NBN scheme, all unit owners would have received full FTTP connection to their unit. However, under the new proposal unit owners will only receive a fibre connection to their complex and have to bear the cost of connecting the NBN to their unit.
NBN Co last month announced plans to honour contracts that have either been signed or where detailed design work is already underway, leaving owners in non-NBN areas with fibre to the complex only – unless they are prepared to personally foot the bill.
Archers Body Corporate Management senior body corporate manager Michael Ryall said the biggest concern expressed by owners was uncertainty surrounding the future process, and the Coalition’s policy could prove to be a complex issue for unit owners who are yet to get the NBN.
“At this point, NBN Co cannot advise exactly what the future policy or costs will be, only that the current policy is under review,” he said.
"Under the Coalition’s proposal there will be two options for unit owners who have not already had NBN infrastructure installed in their buildings and who want full FTTP connection, neither of which will be cheap.
“The first thing to do is check the NBN Co website to see whether you are in a NBN area.
“If so, cabling may have been installed or is scheduled to be installed in your building, so you will get FTTP.
“If you are in an area where the NBN rollout has not yet begun and you would like FTTP, the current Coalition policy is that each unit owner must pay to have cables connected from the complex connection to their unit, or the body corporate or owner's corporation could install a new backbone through the building, which will accommodate cables leading to multiple units.
“Ask around first to see whether any fellow unit owners are keen for FTTP because if there are a few units interested in going ahead, it is more cost effective for the body corporate to install a new backbone.
“There is no case study yet to determine precisely how much this would cost, but running NBN cables from the complex to the unit would require similar technology to that of new Foxtel infrastructure, which typically costs well in excess of $10,000 per complex for medium to large buildings.
“The price would depend on a number of factors, such as size, levels, number of units and existing infrastructure.”
Older strata title buildings without established conduits may need to also create additional ducts for cables to run through, whereas owners of some very new buildings will be pleasantly surprised to find they have fibre optics installed already.
Mr Ryall said regardless of the area, all buildings should have a contact person registered through the NBN website to notify of any installation requirements and avoid further hidden costs.
“Registration of a contact person is critical for all units so that you don’t miss out on the NBN altogether or have to pay for the cost of the entire installation if, for some reason, NBN contractors need to return,” he said.