NBN Co has now bought enough copper to run halfway around the Earth.
- NBN Co has bought 4,478km of copper since October
- It has now bought more than 21,000km — half the Earth's circumference
- The Government argues the "multi-technology" rollout has been a success, but Labor wants more fibre to be used
Since October an additional 4,478 kilometres of copper has been bought, enough to trace the path by road from Sydney to Perth.
The latest investment, revealed as part of Senate estimates, takes the total copper tally to more than 21,000 kilometres.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield backed the use of copper in the rollout and said his Government's NBN was connecting more users every month than Labor connected during its entire time in government.
"Countries like the USA, UK, Germany, France, and more are rolling out a multi-technology mix like the NBN," he said.
"The Coalition's faster, more affordable NBN rollout is keeping your internet bills down and your taxes lower."
When coming to government in 2013, the Coalition required NBN Co to use more existing copper-based communications infrastructure to speed up the rollout.
The copper is used predominantly to run between the "node" or local cabinet, to the "pillar" — usually recognisable as a grey, waist-high cylinder — in areas served by fibre-to-the-node technology.
Fibre versus copperLabor's communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland described ongoing copper purchases as a "bad investment".
"Labor has called on the Government to stop deploying its second-rate copper and at a minimum take fibre to the kerb," she said.
"On every measure, taking fibre deeper will deliver a better outcome for consumers and taxpayers."
More than a third of homes will be connected to the NBN using fibre-to-the-node technology.
Labor is yet to reveal its alternative vision for the NBN as the next federal election looms.
NBN Co will release its updated corporate plan next month.