There has been a bit of news about Australia's National Broadband Network in the media recently - specifically the suggestion that Only 262 homes have been signed up to the NBN so far, in the stage 1 sites of Smithton, Scottsdale and Midway Point.  But are the figures really that bad?
The facts:
  • Three months after activation, the number of homes connected in Tasmania is 262. Including homes that have requested a service but connecting is pending, it is 436.
  • The number of households passed with the fibre is reported between 3000 and 4000 in difference sources. (Note: The source that said "4000" was from The Australian)
So the percentage of homes that have requested a service is between 10.9% and 14.5% (if you only count the ones already connected, it is between 6.5% and 8.7%)
So, how does this compare to other services?
The 2006 census reports that in Tasmania, 28% had broadband. This was in 2006, six years after broadband was first available.
That media release details comparisons between the 2001 figures and 2006, so the same question was asked at the 2001 census – I can't find the figures though. Still looking! I did find this survey from November 2000 (note – not census):
ABS - Survey on internet usage, November 2000 -
Stating that percentage of homes with internet access (note any form of internet – not just broadband) was at 37% in Nov 2000 – the year that ADSL broadband was launched. Only two years earlier the same figure was at 19%, and more specifically, regional areas was 13%.
To reiterate:
  • Dial-up internet had been around since 1994;
  • In November 1998 (four years later), 13% of households in regional Australia had internet access.
  • FTTH over NBN has been around since July 2010;
  • In October 2010 (three months later), 10-14% of households in regional Australia had signed up for a service.
Now I realise it is hard to compare these two exactly, but four years vs three months – thats quite a difference.

(More discussion can be found in this Whirlpool thread!)