Australia’s federal government is to spend A$3.5 billion upgrading the National Broadband Network. In places NBN will be able to offer UFB-like fibre-to-home services.

Australia’s communications minister Paul Fletcher says there will be new model based on the New Zealand approach to fibre network building.

In his speech announcing the move he said: "This on-demand model is used with great success by Chorus in New Zealand and Openreach in the UK - and we’re very happy to copy it.”

The upgrade will mean 2 million Australian households can have access to gigabit fibre by 2023. Another 2.5 million households will have improved access on a Hybrid Fibre Coaxial network and a further 1.5 million will have improved fibre-to-the-curb.

After the upgrade customers in the areas with fibre-to-the-home will be able to connect with no upfront charge when they order a high-speed broadband plan. Previously the NBN would connect to all homes whether or not they requested a fast broadband plan.

The NBN network is almost complete. About 18 percent of premises in Australia are already able to access Ultra-Fast Broadband speeds either through fibre or HFC.

Until now the Government requirement is for NBN to offer 25Mbps peak speed to all premises and 50Mbps to 90 percent of fixed line connections.

Yet, like New Zealanders, Australian consumers have an appetite for faster broadband.