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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, December 10, 2012 9:42 - 160 Comments

    NBN Co conceals updated rollout stats

    news The National Broadband Network Company has declined to provide updated statistics relating to how many premises its predominantly fibre network has covered over the past two and half months, stating that it will only release updated details on its rollout every calendar quarter.

    Late last month Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull heavily criticised NBN Co for primarily using its “premises commenced or completed construction” measure for judging how far its rollout has progressed around Australia and how many Australians have started using the network, despite the fact that its own corporate plan benchmarks it primarily on the number of premises its network has passed and the number of active services on its network.

    Subsequently, Delimiter contacted NBN Co earlier this month seeking updated figures on how far its network has progressed since the company last released details about its rollout progress to the end of September — almost two and a half months ago. In a detailed statement in response, an NBN Co spokesperson declined to released updated statistics on the company’s rollout but said it released figures on a quarterly basis, which they said gave the public “far greater visibility of progress with the NBN than any listed corporate that reports on a six-monthly or annual cycle”. Delimiter is planning to file a Freedom of Information request to source more updated statistics relating to the company’s rollout.

    NBN Co’s progress to the end of September (see table below) appeared to show the company had not yet started rapidly accelerating its network deployment, with the company at that stage only having passed slightly over 50,000 premises since it started deploying its network, and 179,790 satellite and fixed wireless premises. The company did not break up its satellite and wireless technologies into different figures, despite the fact that the technologies are completely unrelated in terms of NBN Co’s rollout.


    In the quarter to 30 September this year, NBN Co only completely deployed fibre to a further 13,000 premises — in the quarter to 30 June this year it had already reached 39,000. It had deployed 18,000 premises by 30 June 2011, the year previously.

    NBN Co’s statistics with respect to the number of premises it has active services at (where customers are actually using its network) similarly show the company is making slow progress. At 30 September this year the company had just 6,358 fibre customers, and some 17,648 satellite and fixed wireless customers (again, here the company did not break up its satellite and wireless numbers). The company added only a few thousand active fibre services in the three months to 30 September.

    The numbers NBN Co has released so far don’t give the whole picture of the company’s construction effort. It is currently in what it describes as its “ramp-up” period, where it is rapidly accelerating its network deploying, following the finalisation of its early stage planning process. The company is currently deploying fibre to some 569,000 premises. In the quarter to 30 June this year, NBN Co was deploying fibre to some 280,000 premises — meaning it has added on substantial additional construction activity in that quarter.

    The figures demonstrated that “the ramp-up in construction activity is now well underway,” NBN Co’s spokesperson said. “The number of premises for which construction has commenced or is completed has more than doubled between June and September.”

    “There has been an 81 percent increase in fibre customers and a 76 percent increase in fixed-wireless and satellite customers over the period,” the spokesperson said. “Over the same period there has also been a 33 percent increase in fibre premises passed, driven by factors including the switch on of the first [fibre serving area module/FSAM] in South Morang in Melbourne, more [retail service providers] marketing their NBN packages in more FSAMs and, with the introduction of additional capacity in the form of Visionstream and Service Stream, a significant increase in greenfields activity.”

    NBN Co’s spokesperson pointed out that the company had aims of having commenced or completed construction in 758,000 premises by the end of December 2012, and that it had a goal of having its fibre past some 286,000 premises passed in brownfields areas by the end of June 2013, with some 44,000 active fibre users planned for that same date.

    The Coalition has sharply criticised NBN Co’s rollout speed on an ongoing basis, with Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull comparing the company’s speed to that of an “arthritic snail” and Liberal MP Paul Paul Fletcher last week describing it as a “costly failure”.

    Last week, NBN Co’s spokesperson added the following statement defending its rollout speed:

    “Progress to date gives us a degree of confidence that we are on our way to achieving these targets. How can we be confident when there is still so much to do? Because the quarterly increases in activity are not linear. They are indicative of a steep yet achievable ramp-up in construction activity.

    Remember, it takes on average about 12 months from the commencement of construction in a particular site to homes and businesses being able to activate. That means those 280,000 “construction commenced or completed” areas from June this year are expected to be up and running by the middle of 2013. That, in turn, should lead to a concurrent rise in activations.

    For instance, construction is nearing completion in Coffs Harbour, Gungahlin in the ACT and South Hobart. These sites will go live and householders will be able to order NBN services in the New Year. In the months that follow we’ll also see the first fibre sites become active in WA (including the Perth suburb of Victoria Park) and the Northern Territory (Darwin), as well as additional locations in Qld (Aspley, Toowoomba and Goodna), Victoria (Bacchus Marsh), Tasmania (Launceston) and NSW (Riverstone in Western Sydney and Tamworth).

    And that’s not including those new locations that will come online in outback regions via the Interim Satellite Service or additional Fixed-Wireless sites such as some of the smaller communities surrounding Geraldton, Shepparton, Ballarat, Darwin, Bendigo, Mackay, Launceston and Tamworth.

    We are also happy with the rate of activations to date. For instance, it took the UK four years to achieve an FTTH/B take-up rate of 2% of homes passed. By contrast, the NBN has take-up of about 15% with some sites well ahead of that (e.g. Kiama is now around 45% and Willunga is not far behind). These are very good numbers and they occurred before any steps had been taken to shut down the copper.

    So the rollout is on track, the ramp-up in construction activity is well and truly underway and in short order more locations in more parts of the country will be coming online.”

    opinion/analysis
    Right now you’re probably thinking: But we knew all of this — why is Delimiter pursuing this article when NBN Co has already released these statistics? Isn’t this just re-hashing the past?

    The answer is that, as I wrote several weeks ago, I agree with Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that NBN Co’s focus on nebulous statistics regarding the number of premises where it has commenced or completed construction is misleading. In my opinion, the company should stop using this figure as a primary benchmark of its progress, and focus only on areas where it has actually finished building the NBN. This is the only real benchmark which we should be holding NBN Co accountable to.

    As part of that article several weeks ago, I committed to asking NBN Co for updated statistics about the amount of premises its rollout has passed, as well as the number of active services on its network, every month, on the 1st of the month.

    Now let’s not beat around the bush here. NBN Co know how many premises its network has passed. It knows how many active services it has on its network. No doubt this is one of the most pervasive topics of discussion within the company, at all levels. But last week, NBN Co failed its first test put by Delimiter in being transparent with that information. Given the important nature of the NBN rollout, the sensitive stage that that rollout is at, and the fact that the state of the network rollout will be a key item in the debate around the next Federal Election, you would think it would be absolutely in the public interest for NBN Co to tell Australians how far it has rolled out its network more than once every three months.

    If the network is ramping up as NBN Co claims (and as I continue to believe that it is), then NBN Co has nothing to worry about disclosing this information. If NBN Co started disclosing its rollout statistics on a month by month basis, it would be easy to see that the company was rapidly accelerating its network deployment. This is why these statistics are so important.

    The fact that NBN Co has declined to do this plays strongly into the Coalition’s narrative that the company’s rollout is extremely slow and behind schedule. Because, based on its current numbers of premises passed and active services, there is very little evidence that NBN Co’s network deployment is actually going as NBN Co has planned. The company says things are fine — but without regularly disclosing real numbers of how many premises its network actually passes (not just how many are in some stage of construction), it’s hard for the skeptical to take the company at its word.

    Apologies, NBN Co, but we’re not giving up on this one. With a Federal Election coming up next year, Australians need very regular updates on the material progress of your network rollout. Expect a Freedom of Information request this week for the updated stats — and expect our next call on 1 January for the updated stats. Transparency can be a bitch — and so can democracy — but in our jaded society, it’s one of the things we have to hold onto the most.

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    1. Paul Krueger
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink |

      If they change their reporting practices to report monthly, will someone else claim they are concealing updates by not reporting weekly?

      Slow news day?

      • Zok
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink |

        It’s been a couple of days since Turnbull’s last comments on NBN… he must be concealing something! :)

    2. Haderak
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink |

      A little off-topic, but I was wondering how much of the premises passed / premises activated disparity could be linked to the prevalence of 24 month contracts with ISPs.

      How many of the homes ‘passed’ are likely to have put off activating their NBN connection for fear of invalidating their existing contract, or (more likely IMHO) becuase they don’t want to risk changing plans to an NBN plan if that means restarting a long contract period with an ISP they aren’t particularly friendly with?

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink |

        “A little off-topic, but I was wondering how much of the premises passed / premises activated disparity could be linked to the prevalence of 24 month contracts with ISPs.”

        While I suspect this is a factor, and would continue to be so, I would equally suspect this is subsiding.

        NBN Co has WBA’s signed with ISPs covering 95% of the fixed line internet market. If you’re ISP is signed up, I would imagine they would happily let you move from an existing ADSL plan onto an NBN plan, and restart your two-year sign-up commitment.

        There will undoubtedly be exceptions to this – (dependant on the ISPs deals with their wholesale DSLAM providers) – but this “issue” should be reducing all the time.

        • Ryan
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink |

          Sadly this isn’t the case with some sat connections. I’m aware of a money of rural sat users that are wanting to migrate from the old.opstar sat services to nbn wholesale plans and have been told that have to live out another 12+ months before they can change plans. It’s a shame as the nbn interim plans are substantially better (speed/data) than anything else on the market.

    3. Zok
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink |

      Breaking news, hot off the press, exclusive scandal! :)

      Why is it that quarterly reporting is not enough? How frequently do we need the NBN progress updates — monthly, weekly, daily? What is the industry practice?

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink |

        In this context I believe monthly would be appropriate.

        • GongGav
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink |

          Wont the details distort the message though?

          Marathon runners run ~40 kms in ~2 hours, which is an impressive feat, but if you break that down to running 1 km in 3 minutes, its not as impressive. Well, it is if I tried to run 1km, but not for any serious professional runner.

          Point being, if you break the numbers down to too fine a detail, they lose meaning.

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink |

            I don’t give a shit about the message, I give a shit about the evidence ;)

            • GongGav
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink |

              Fair enough, I’m just wondering how important that information is. Its only going to show large numbers that back up Labor, putting you back into the cheerleader group as far as The Turnbull is concerned :)

              Not hard to show that passed is a 12 month lag from commenced, and that active is an 18 month lag (at worst) from passed.

              And its just as easy to show that commenced means commited, putting the benefit of the numbers to Labor.

              Every pro-NBN person on this site knows this, you more than anyone. Are you calling The Turnbull’s bluff on this?

              Flipside is passed. A number that isnt going to gain any traction until… Well, conveniently for Labor, its not going to start going up until a month or two before the expected election date in October. Or just over 12 months after the rollout was ramped up.

              Hmm… The quarterly report for next September is going to make for an interesting read. The numbers for the July-Sep 12 rollout should come online right in the middle of electioneering.

              If we’re lucky, it will come out the same week the Liberals reveal their policy…

            • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

              Short term evidence is useless without the full context of the scenario at hand.
              And unfortunately, all it would do it make headlines for all the wrong reasons because reporters couldn’t figure out that it was raining on a particular day..

              The need to build the thing.
              NBNco can give the government daily reports if they want.

              But they have no reason to give the population any more…
              It just gives them reason to increase employees, and therefore increase wages, and therefore increase in negative reporting by reporters that should know better

            • Mud Guts
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink |

              “I don’t give a shit about the message, I give a shit about the evidence ;)”

              @Renai it would be good to see Turnbull really pushed for hard evidence about his claims. 1/3 to 1/4 cheaper than the NBN? I don’t think so.

              Faster to build than the NBN, again with no evidence, I don’t think so.

              Cheaper for the consumer? Again because Turnbull says so just isn’t good enough.

              The TBN (Turnbull Bullshit Network) is just a lot of piss and wind with no hard evidence.

              What about those with shitty copper? At what point will bad copper be replaced with Fibre?

              There’s just far too many uknowns about the TBN/Atomic Banana.

              • Michael
                Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink |

                Just slinging crap at Turnbull is not contributing to what Renai is trying to debate here. Irrespective of the merits of the LNP policy it is still worthwhile to critique the ALP policy, even more so when you take into account that the ALP policy is currently being implemented and the LNP policy is not.

                • NBNAlex
                  Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink |

                  I agree to a point, the NBN obviously needs transparency, Michael. However personally, with NBNCo already supplying quarterly reports I think they are being transparent. Would monthly reports being more advantageous, maybe/maybe not? Would they be more costly, definitely (but waste is apparently in the eye of the beholder).

                  Personally, while we need to critique the NBN… we have lot’s of info already… how much info is enough/too much?

                  As such I’d personally like more actual detail on the alternative plan the opposition will implement if elected. Because contrary to the basic NBN transparency, IMO, the opposition are not being transparent at all and those who are saying further scrutiny of the NBN is needed, but leave poor Malcolm alone/the opposiion aren’t in government, so they don’t need to supply us plebs information (just vote) screams double standards.

                • Gene W
                  Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink |

                  I disagree.

                  The NBN is happening, and the TBN is not. The NBN is heavily detailed and costed, and the TBN is not.

                  It doesn’t make sense to demand more and more of the NBN when the TBN is still just a thought bubble.

                • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
                  Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink |

                  Of course you have to critique the ALP policy (and it’s implementation).
                  The debate is in the frequency of the information..

                  http://whrl.pl/Rdpd0V

                  “The oversight committee only report to parliament 6 monthly. The committee themselves only meet quarterly from memory. How is making NBN Co reporting more frequently going to improve the speed at which the govt can do anything?”

                  The only benefit is for reporters to be able to report something.
                  Which then puts information in the hands of those who too easily mis-understand the findings as they have their morning toast……

                  It’s only a lesson in cutting the head off a chicken before you have a chance to fatten it up…..

                  • Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink |

                    “How is making NBN Co reporting more frequently going to improve the speed at which the govt can do anything?”

                    It’s not. But it will help us prove/disprove the claims of both Turnbull and NBN Co about the speed of the rollout and its progress.

                    • Mr Creosote
                      Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink |

                      How? What targets do you match them to? The only rollout targets provided are quaterly ones, in line with NBN Cos stated reporting period. Do you just divide those by 3? This would obviously be troublesome given that December and January for example will have quiet holiday periods in them. Turnbull would be all over it, claiming they arent meeting their targets. With the current state of reporting on the NBN, that would hit the headlines, without any real questioning about how those figures came about.

                      Do you get NBN Co to allocate more resource to re-jigging the targets to a monthly basis? Thats fine until someone complains they should be weekly, or then even daily to see if the 6000 connections per day figure is being met. Oh, and then just change it back in a few months – forget about the resources wasted. Where does it end?

                    • Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink |

                      @Renai

                      It’s not. But it will help us prove/disprove the claims of both Turnbull and NBN Co about the speed of the rollout and its progress.

                      How? I asked this before. How is reporting monthly, when you receive exactly the same information quarterly, going to help prove/disprove claims for or against NBNCo? All it is is micro-analysis. It doesn’t serve any purpose for a project that is 9 years long.

                      I think we’re focussing far too much on “the election” when it comes to the NBN. If we focussed instead on the possibilities and ignored the Coalition rhetoric, god forbid, they might actually realise no one is paying attention and get on with producing decent policy details.

                      Feed the troll and the troll keeps trolling….and Turnbull et al. are master trolls on the NBN.

                • Mud Guts
                  Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink |

                  @Michael Turnbull’s ramblings are far from policy! The main problems I have with these so-called “Policies” are:

                  1. There’s simply no credibility around any of Turnbull’s costings. When pressed for detail he refuses to answer with anything but vague nonsense.

                  2. Abbott, Hockey et., al. at every opportunity cut Turnbull’s lunch and say how they’ll pause/cancel the NBN/Turnbull Bullshit Network/Atomic Banana. This lack of consistency is alarming.

                  3. Turnbull constantly makes reference to the UK and USA, however fails to discuss NZ and the disaster that was their FTTN experience.

        • Zok
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink |

          Are there any objective, evidence-based reasons why monthly reporting is more adequate then quarterly? (Excluding the advantage for more frequent “news content” generation) :)

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink |

            A graph with 12 data points is inherently more insightful than a graph with four data points.

            Not to mention … NBN Co doesn’t break out satellite and wireless figures — they’re included as part of the same parcel.

            • Dave
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

              Well, in 3 years you’ll have a graph with 12 data points ;) But seriously I don’t personally see quarterly reporting as being an issue.

              What I do find interesting about their statement though is that they’ve defined the commenced or completed statistic: “it takes on average about 12 months from the commencement of construction in a particular site to homes and businesses being able to activate”. Where I was unsure of this as a useful statistic I think it has several useful points assuming we still get premises passed stats every quarter as well. Firstly we can judge how the rollout has progressed over the previous 12 months as the number of premises passed should be around the commencement or completion stat from 12 months prior. Secondly this stat will give us an indication of how many premises will be completed at the time the coalition get into power as they’ve stated they’ll let the current contracts run!

      • GongGav
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink |

        Most business’s report half yearly, and thats usually 2 or 3 months after the relevant date.

        Not quite sure what Renai’s game is with this, but quarterly is significantly better than most companies.

        Monthly figures arent going to deliver a worthwhile picture for the Liberals, as its just going to include a larger and larger commenced figure while we’re in the ramp-up stage of the process. Which is a number that can be pointed to and say “thats your passed figure for this time next year”, and be pretty close.

        If 200,000 premises are passed every month, which is about right @ 6000/day, then the 200,000 being done this month will be passed this time next year, and 18 months after that be active.

        Perhaps Renai’e just calling The Turnbull’s bluff, and using HIS methodology to show that FttH has progressed to far, or will have by next years election.

        Personally, I still think both commenced and passed have relevance.

        • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink |

          “Most business’s report half yearly, and thats usually 2 or 3 months after the relevant date. Not quite sure what Renai’s game is with this, but quarterly is significantly better than most companies.”

          NBN Co is not a normal company — it’s a government-owned enterprise and the focus of a major debate between political parties about government policy. It has these rollout stats internally — there is no reason not to release them in this context, to demonstrate that it is meeting its aims.

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink |

            +1

            Right there with you on this one Renai.

            Quarterly is too long and weekly is unreasonable, but I don’t see why monthly should be a problem, and it’ll show the ramp up much better.

          • bern
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink |

            “there is no reason not to release them in this context, to demonstrate that it is meeting its aims”

            But you continue to insist that progress in building supporting infrastructure and preparation for connections is not relevant to that, with your focus on end-user connections as the only meaningful measure.

            Personally, if they have the monthly numbers, I think they should release them, but they should break it down into categories:
            1. Premises commenced (they’ve started construction for the area, with contracts signed etc)
            2. Premises passed (they’ve actually run the fibre down the street)
            3. Premises completed (all wired up & ready to roll)
            4. Premises serviced (with an active account)

            Break it down further, if you like, by fibre / wireless / satellite (though I think all the potential satellite customers are technically in the third category).

            To my engineer’s brain, the first two categories are just as important as the last two in measuring actual progress, especially as it takes some time for a give premises to move from one category to the next.
            The numbers in each category would, naturally, be smaller than the one above – at least until the network is finished, when you’d expect 1,2 & 3 to be the same, with 4 depending on final retail takeup.

            • MikeK
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink |

              to support your argument Bern, Mike Quigley stated…

              But Mr Quigley said the targets has been used at the request of a joint parliamentary committee on the NBN “because they want to know not just when we’d passed, but when was construction going to start in an area.”

              http://www.afr.com/p/technology/nbn_chief_defends_network_rollout_zRPWjn8hiTu4IjMNYslFSJ

              As far as time of reporting updates I would imagine that that decision would also be at the request of the joint parliamentary committee, take it up with them.

              Who cares what Turnball says, the guys a twat.

    4. Aaron
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

      Just an FYI MT is blocking people on Twitter who’s “views” on the NBN don’t fall into line with his i.e doesn’t want to discuss it with the public.

      The guy is a donkey plain and simple…

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink |

        I’ve noticed this. There have been some very good questions and replies that seem to have just disappeared.

        • Aaron
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink |

          Yep, like i say the guy is a donkey.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink |

        A Liberal censoring people?!!

        Actually, I’m a bit surprised at Malcolm doing it, with all the fine speeches he makes about liberty, republics, democracy etc you think he’d actually want to hear what people want to say…

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink |

          It doesn’t seem to be a censoring based on post being inappropriate either. Someone who is called dumbCanberra is very active, very rude to people, but supports Turnbull even if he thinks wireless is the answer. He has also left a few post from people who oppose Turnbull’s plan, but they are ones with dumb post that are easily refuted, like FTTN needs 8 pairs to each house to work (could that be a deliberate post to give the apperance of replying to people?) Posts about the useful life or FTTN, NZ, or other things he never answers just vanish.

          • Aaron
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |

            I told that idiot that said about the 8 pairs to keep it factual. Beat the donkey with facts not that rubbish.

        • Aaron
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink |

          “you think he’d actually want to hear what people want to say…”

          He does but he only wants to talk to people that have the same opinions as him. Like i said the guy is a donkey…

        • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink |

          He’s getting tired…

          • Mike
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink |

            He actually looked tired, haggard and very disheartened on Lateline the other night. I think the constant lies and pressure to discuss information he clearly doesn’t really believe in is getting to him. It must be difficult to keep polishing a turd……

    5. NBNAccuracy
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink |

      Maybe they could give you a reply you’d be happy with on progress:

      Q. Have you rolled out many more premises?
      A. Yes, a lot more.

      Hmmm, that reply seems familiar.

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink |

        This is the whole problem. Right now, the answer they’re giving is not “a lot more” … it’s “we’ve done a few thousand more”. And that is not what we need to be hearing if the NBN is to survive the next election.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink |

          It would be nice to have a monthly total. It would give more data points to plot a trend. I wonder if it would be a smooth progression or lumpy? Areas may complete in fits and starts. I assume they would have a push to get areas completed ready for activation right before figures are reported. Other times they may just be working to get as much work done as possible without worrying about maximising ready for service numbers.

        • CMOTDibbler
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink |

          Given the 12 month lead time for an area from start to ‘passed’ the numbers are going to be quite flat at the moment. Reporting flat numbers quarterly rather than monthly avoids a lot of earache from the opposition. Once we get past March 2013 we should see the numbers ‘passed’ start to rise quite quickly. At that point the NBNCo will probably be happy to report monthly.

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink |

            @CMOT

            Once we get past March 2013 we should see the numbers ‘passed’ start to rise quite quickly. At that point the NBNCo will probably be happy to report monthly.

            I think what you actually mean there is the government will be happy for them to report monthly.

            I think this is where the blame game is unfair- NBNCo. have a directive to report Quarterly. The government could change this. They choose not to. That’s their choice and as you say, probably because monthly reporting right now would only serve to give Malcolm ammunition. But that isn’t NBNCo’s fault. They can’t go against the wishes of their shareholder when it comes to public information.

            Perhaps Renai, you should be berating Conroy about this?

    6. NPSF3000
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink |

      “The answer is that, as I wrote several weeks ago, I agree with Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that NBN Co’s focus on nebulous statistics regarding the number of premises where it has commenced or completed construction is misleading. ”

      Again… how is this misleading? NBNCo just told you [again!] what it means.

    7. Trevor
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink |

      Sorry Ren, I have to agree with some of these other comments, as it’s exactly what I was thinking reading this article – quarterly reporting means waiting another two or three weeks. In the context of an infrastructure deployment of this scale and timeframe, quarterly reporting seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      Think about what you’re asking for: you want the NBN Co to change a company policy based on your whim. What sort of precedent will this set for future requests (demands?) for information from journalists? If they’re willing to capitulate on this, what else can pushy journalists expect to get? How much time do you think it takes to compile detailed reports like this? You’re probably talking the best part of a week. If you change that from quarterly to monthly reporting, that mere 4 weeks a year blows out to three months, more than a quarter of their annual work. And for what? To satisfy you & Mr Turnbull? You may feel that there’s significant public interest at stake here, but as far as I can see the NBN Co aren’t saying they won’t release the figures, they’re just going to release them based on their publicly disclosed reporting schedule and not arbitrarily to specific journalists based on their individual whims (or Mr Turnbull, who will say and ask anything to direct attention away from the compelling questions that need to be asked of him until he actually gives a reasonable answer that isn’t simply obfuscation and misdirection). I’m afraid I don’t see the problem here, as the stated reporting timeframe is perfectly reasonable and adequate to satisfy the (very significant) public interest.

      Besides, how would you feel if your work was being interrupted every hour by an overzealous supervisor, compared with a daily debrief? A good manager knows he must set the task and then get out of the way so his staff can get on with the job (which they’re qualified to, and capable of, doing) – micromanaging shows that you don’t trust anyone else to do the job, which simply wastes everyone’s time, breeds resentment and makes said manager look like an incompetent twat.

      Sorry Ren – let NBN Co make good use of its staff and get on with their jobs. Nothing is gained by forcing them report more regularly when their current quarterly shedule is perfectly adequate.

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

        I am merely asking NBN Co to release harmless information the company already has.

        Renai

        • GongGav
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink |

          As someone who does reports from inside a Govt department (or used to, role’s changed now), I can say with some experience that there is considerable difference between an internal report and an external report.

          Numbers might not change from one to the other, but the amount of effort put into an internal monthly report is considerably less than what goes out externally. I might have spent a day doing a monthly report, but the quarterly reports took at least a week to put together.

          If you’re wanting their quarterly reports delivered on a monthly basis, then you’re also asking for the same effort to be put into that monthly report, which isnt insignificant.

          Its not as simple as pushing a button and giving the information out.

        • bdc
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink |

          As someone who works in GiS, you are actually just asking people to waste their time compiling reports all the time instead of actually entering data, fixing problems.

          Quarterly is often, and despite your thoughts that passed isn’t important, it is actually the most important number of all, active connections isn’t very important at all, it will be important only once they switch the copper network off in a given area, and then it will be important in those given areas to try and get an understanding of what the eventual takeup rate will be across Australia.

    8. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink |

      Does it really matter..?? Its happening isnt it?
      Just let it be..
      What should your biggest concern – is the Coalitions threat to pause it.
      And where are their NBN rollout details, facts, costings an a myriad of unanswered questions.?

      • Aaron
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink |

        “What should your biggest concern – is the Coalitions threat to pause it”

        +eleventy.

        Renai you should be asking the donkey Turnbull what he thinks about his bosses words that he will pause it. Because ONE OF THEM IS LYING, Turnbull still talking about deploying FTTN when the Mad Monk plans to pause it. Like i said ONE OF THEM IS LYING.

        This is what Mal blocked me on Twitter for. I kept tweeting to him that he is a liar because TA plans to pause the NBN.

        • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink |

          “Turnbull still talking about deploying FTTN when the Mad Monk plans to pause it. Like i said ONE OF THEM IS LYING.”

          +1

          The media needs to make sure they hold the Libs to account.

          which one is it. build or pause…..?

    9. Trevor
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink |

      * IMO ;-)

    10. Tinman_au
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink |

      I find it pretty amusing that you guys think monthly reporting would be a “burden” on the company, as Renai said, these numbers/stats would already be around internally (if they aren’t, then there are some REAL problems with NBNCo).

      And NBNCo is NOT a public company. It’s a government created organisation using OUR money. I have no problem with them using our money, but I sure as hell want to know it’s actually being spent the way it’s meant to. the way we can see it’s being spent wisely, is for them to report how they are going…

      The way they are doing it currently is like a manufacturing company saying they made, or started making, X widgets this quarter. That sure as heck wouldn’t cut it for any other ASX listed company, and government departments even put in more detail usually. Why give the NBN a free pass?

    11. Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink |

      FYI, I have filed a Freedom of Information request with NBN Co about this matter this morning, seeking:

      -The number of premises passed by NBN Co’s fibre network (completed) as at Friday 7 December, 2012.
      -The number of active users on NBN Co’s fibre network as at Friday 7 December, 2012.
      -The number of premises passed by NBN Co’s wireless network (completed) as at Friday 7 December, 2012.
      -The number of active users on NBN Co’s wireless network as at Friday 7 December, 2012.

      • bdc
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink |

        I really don’t see the point of this, their next report is coming out at the end of this month or start of Jan, so by the time the FoI request goes through won’t they already be releasing their reports anyway?

        I applaud you for requesting a breakdown of the wireless/satellite info though, they certainly shouldn’t be grouped together and it is surely a temporary thing as they don’t want to provide the number that I’m sure are using the wireless service.

    12. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

      Could you request same of Noalition Policy in Detail?

    13. Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink |

      Just a quick message to those who think I should be spending my time criticising Turnbull right now: Journalism is not a one-sided sport. I do spend a great deal of time holding Turnbull to account. But equally, it is important that I hold NBN Co and the Government (not to mention other political groups such as the Greens) to account.

      You can’t cheer me when I hold Turnbull to account and then slam me when I hold the Government to account. And you can’t support me for saying what I think when I slam Turnbull and then damn when for saying what I think when I slam the Government.

      The knife cuts both ways. I’m not trying to be “balanced” here. I’m trying to do my job and hold everyone accountable. As other posters have said, what possible reason could NBN Co have for not releasing monthly rollout stats? They have the information. The public literally owns this company. There is no reason this information should be withheld.

      I’m sure Mike Quigley gets an updated rollout report on his desk every month. There’s no reason not to copy and paste the relevant four paragraphs and issue it to the public.

      • Aaron
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

        I think they should all be held to account if they lie, cheat and deceive regardless of which party they are a member of.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

          Indeed Aaron. That’s why it’s important to know where exactly NBNCo is “at”. If they are in fact on (revised) target, then “two thumbs up” to them. If they aren’t though, we need to find out and make sure someone gets on the case to get it on target.

          • Aaron
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

            Completely agree

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

        +1

      • Brendan
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink |

        Hold both sides to the fire. Nothing wrong with that.

        +1

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink |

        “You can’t cheer me when I hold Turnbull to account and then slam me when I hold the Government to account. ”

        No, but we can question you objectivity.

        NBN releasing reports every 3 months == ‘concealing’ information.
        Coalition not released policy for 3+ years == detailed policy.

        • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink |

          NBN releasing reports every 3 months == ‘concealing’ information.
          Coalition not released policy for 3+ years == detailed policy.

          lol.
          True…

          In the end I don’t care, Monthy/Quarterly.

          But there is bigger issues…

          And that is ‘nonthly’. As in, None chance in eleventy you will be getting a white elephant pause….

        • Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink |

          “we can question you objectivity”

          hey NPSF3000,

          you’ve been banned before for a week for this kind of thing. If you accuse me of bias towards one side or another again, I’ll ban you for a year this time. The comments policy is clear: Debate the issues and do not accuse me of bias again, or be removed from the site:

          http://delimiter.com.au/comments-policy/

          I don’t suffer personal insults on Delimiter. Play the ball and not the man, or leave the pitch.

          Cheers,

          Renai

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink |

            The ball here Renai, isn’t the issue- the ball being how many premises are passed/connected.

            The amount of premises passed/connected in a 3 month period will not change whether it is reported on a monthly basis or quarterly basis. All that WILL change is the analysis of it.

            You can quite happily argue a monthly report would be feasible and much more to your liking and to the liking of people who closely follow the NBN on a blow-by-blow basis…but the fact is, NBNCo. are doing what they are REQUIRED to do.

            You have said yourself before and forgive me for paraphrasing as I can’t find your direct quote “NBNCo. are one of the most scrutinised companies in Australia right now”. Why do we need one more level?

            I’m not suggesting you’re biased- not at all. Simply that you have an opinion that doesn’t agree with NBNCo’s or the government or the Oversight committee setup to make sure NBNCo. are fulfilling their mandate correctly and efficiently. They have said Quarterly is fine. You disagree. That’s fine. But I don’t really see how you can say NBNCo. are “misleading”- they aren’t misleading, they’re not “giving the wrong impression/idea”. They’re simply not required to report in between quarters on total premises passed, so they may very well not compile that data between departments before the quarterly report and therefore cannot simply email you a spreadsheet with said information.

            If I may be so bold, I’d like to ask what evidence you have that NBNCo. are misleading on their premises passed, by not reporting monthly? As several people have already said, no other company in Australia is required by their shareholders to report more than quarterly at the worst. Your argument, clearly, is that because this is an important election issue (for some people anyway) therefore they should be required to do so. But this is a personal opinion and does not indicate any evidence that they are misleading by not doing so.

          • NPSF3000
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink |

            “you’ve been banned before for a week for this kind of thing. If you accuse me of bias towards one side or another again, I’ll ban you for a year this time. ”

            Excuse me, but where did I claim you were biased to one side?

            I’m trying to bring up the point that your measurement system appears to be skewed – you’ve mentioned how ‘detailed’ the Coalition policy is repeatedly even though objectively there is little to go on, while claiming that the NBN is ‘concealing’ vital information, while objectively it’s publishing a significant amount of information on a regular basis.

            Now sure, you could continue to ignore the points raised and ban me again, or you could sit down and actually revaluate your reporting to ensure it’s as objective as you think it is.

            Not all errors are intentional, but denying the possibility of errors is almost always wrong.

      • Gene W
        Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink |

        >You can’t cheer me when I hold Turnbull to account and then slam me when I hold the Government to account.

        That is true, but one can say quite objectively that the amount of information Turnbull has released on his policy is a bad joke compared to the amount we have on the NBN. Efforts should therefore be heavily focused on Turnbull.

        Accusing NBNCo of “concealing” information that is above and beyond what they agreed to release is just…strange, when the details of the opposing policy have been concealed to a much higher degree.

    14. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

      Not criticising you Renai.., you are a great Journo.. Keep it up..!
      But i fail to see how a monthly report is going to be more accurate than an averaged quarterly report, and what difference will it make anyway.? The NBN is rolling out for certain and thats all i need to know..whereas the NOBN doesnt carry any certainty whatsoever.. Zilch , nothing.
      Im not concerned about NBNco, however i am deeply concerned with the alternative, whatever that is? Paused?

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink |

        “The NBN is rolling out for certain and thats all i need to know”

        Actually this depends on whether the Coalition wins the next election, and also on to what extent NBN Co has deployed its network before the next election. Things are not as certain as you are portraying.

        • Paul Grenfell
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |

          Indeed , which is why i am more concerned about Coalition Policy than anything else.. If the NBN is paused, we are likely to get little or nothing..
          Roll On NBN (I hope)

    15. Brendan
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

      In a deployment measured in years, not months, it seems reasonable to consider quarterly reporting as being a pretty good outcome.

      Four general progress statements a year; over what, 6-7 years that’s 24-28 reports. Monthly would be into the hundreds. And I don’t see how they’d really add much more detail?

      Other than perhaps add more ammunition for Turnbull to split-hairs over, whilst his own schizophrenic, Schrödinger’s policies have yet to see the light of day.

      • GongGav
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

        I’ll go a step further, and suggest sponsorship for the idea. Get Google on board, and they can update Google maps as they pass each premise…

        • GongGav
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink |

          That’ll lern me to look closer. Comment meant for Rhys, comment below.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

          I like that idea!

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

        “In a deployment measured in years, not months, it seems reasonable to consider quarterly reporting as being a pretty good outcome. Four general progress statements a year; over what, 6-7 years that’s 24-28 reports. Monthly would be into the hundreds. And I don’t see how they’d really add much more detail?”

        In any other situation I would agree, but with an election probably only half a year away, we need more information from NBN Co than this. After the election, sure, I’d be happy to revert to quarterly updates, but right now we need all the information we can get so we can decide whether NBN Co is actually delivering or not.

        • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink |

          Renai, you qualify most of your reasons here for asking NBNCo. for these numbers with “IMO” or “because the election is only X months a way, I think it reasonable…”.

          It’s your opinion that you think NBNCo. should answer every month. That doesn’t make it reasonable, right or correct to do so.

          I find this pushing for monthly updates pointless. NBNCo. may have mid-monthly reporting with contractors, in which case the number you see at the beginning of month X may be substantially lower than in week 2 of month X.

          I really don’t understand the push with this. You’ve said you disagree with their “commenced or completed” metric. Fine. That’s YOUR opinion. Why should NBNCo. be held accountable to your opinion? If the Senate committee wish them to remove the reporting metric of “commenced or completed” they can ask them to. They haven’t. They’ve simply stated they don’t want that information and don’t see the point. That doesn’t mean they can’t report it, just that the Committee sees no value FOR THEM in that metric. They wouldn’t, because they aren’t looking at the rollout IMO, they’re looking at completion and how fast it can be. In that respect, the “commenced or completed” metric is useless, they only want “passed”.

          I think that’s a stupid way of looking at it. But that’s my opinion. And I wouldn’t expect the Committee to agree with it.

          Why should NBNCo. agree with yours?

          • Karl
            Posted 11/12/2012 at 2:50 am | Permalink |

            I think one very telling fact is that even the anti-NBN news sources report the commenced or completed figure. If it’s a figure designed to mislead people, why is everyone helping? They usually grab every opportunity to stick the knife in whether the knife is made of reality or not.

            hmm, a knife made of reality? I should go to bed

    16. Rhys
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      I want hourly updates on when they are deploying it to my street. Maybe a helmet cam to watch them hook it up to my house, I want to see the aura of light emitted from my house when they make that last connection whilst playing The Monkees – I’m a Believer. In the mean time, I’m happy with 1/4 updates.

      • GongGav
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink |

        I’ll go a step further, and suggest sponsorship for the idea. Get Google on board, and they can update Google maps as they pass each premise…

    17. SaveTheNBN
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

      What a load of drivel. Renai has decided he must have his information now or NBN be forever damned. What an act of overgrown puffed up self importance of 1 person to demand a national company report to him when and how he wants it. It is like Alan Jones constantly demanding immediate answers to his ranting and raving.

      I fear Renai’s man crush on Malcolm has affected him to such an extent he has also taken on the “great” mans gargantuan ego. Get back to real journalism not trumped up shite or I think the only thing that will be CENSORED is this website.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

        Settle down mate, asking for a monthly update of stats they already have is a pretty reasonable request IMHO. If they do run into problems, we’ll know up to 2 months earlier if they do it monthly Vs quarterly too, so it’s actually a good thing even if your pro-NBNCo…

        • SaveTheNBN
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink |

          Tinman

          It is not the question that worries me but the process. Nicely asking for monthly updates via the relevant channels would be more appropriate than this dummy spit. We would all like a real time update as each connection is made but I am sure that NBN co has better things to do right now.

          “NBN – Co conceals updated rollout stats” is a pure and simple lie. They are not concealing anything as they have said they provide quarterly updates and like everyone else Renai just has to wait for the next one. These sorts of headlines belong in The Australian or other useless mainstream media. People come to blogs like these to get real stories not confected controversy.

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink |

            “Nicely asking for monthly updates via the relevant channels”

            That is precisely what I did do. Emailed their PR team, who I speak to most weeks on and off, and asked for an on the record update. Now I’ve filed a FoI request. This is the definition of “via the relevant channels”. Those channels are set up precisely for the purpose of providing information and helping transparency.

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

            “They are not concealing anything”

            They declined to answer my request to provide information they have. So yes, they are concealing information. By definition.

            • Paul Grenfell
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink |

              Same as Turnbull and Abbott..

            • SaveTheNBN
              Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink |

              “They declined to answer my request to provide information they have. So yes, they are concealing information. By definition.”

              Crap this is only by your definition. NBN co has always released quarterly just because you want to change it to monthly doesn’t mean they immediately should and anything else is concealment. These sorts of mealy mouthed arguments over “definition” belong in a courtroom not a tech blog. The fact is NBN co has concealed absolutely nothing and your attempts to conjure up otherwise does you no service at all.

              • MikeK
                Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink |

                +1

    18. Brendan
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink |

      Mr Turnbull hasn’t amended his Schrödinger’s FTTN policy plan for the last few days.

      I believe he is concealing his plans! A Spanish Inquisition Royal Commission must be called!

      [ I’m sorry, I felt like I needed to lighten the thread. :) ]

    19. Murdoch
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

      NBNCo, at every forum I have attended, have always maintained that they will give us quarterly reports on progress. It’s not terribly surprising that they will attempt to adhere to that.

      Will monthly reports offer anything more than quarterly reports? It certainly would enable us out here in outsider land a better indication as to how the NBN rollout is proceeding. However the tradeoff is, that any problems that may occur over the course of a month with regards to rollout speeds also become fodder for people to either complain about, or praise (the door swings both ways).

      While Renai isn’t the type (not meaning to be presumptous here Renai, but in every artcile I’ve read of yours, you’ve always strived for fair appraisal) to engage in politicking or peanut gallery snipes about any of the subjects I’ve see him write about, he’s not the only journo out there, and by his own admission, he’s certainly fairer than a lot of others out there.

      My thoughts, from a rollout standpoint, it would be nice to have monthly reports. But if I consider the (at times) unnecessary poison that has come from other sectors of the media (as in mainstream broadsheets), then quarterly reporting gives the trolls disguised as journalists less chaff to stick their noses in, and is good enough.

      I hope Renai’s FOI request is granted and attended to. If it doesn’t get addressed, then I’ll state that there is some deliberate concealment going on.

      • Murdoch
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

        Additionally … to the other posters in here …

        Cut the snide remarks (i.e. man crush) and thinly veiled insults masquerading as banter aren’t doing any good here.

        Renai (and I know you don’t need me to fight your battles for you dude, but someone else other than you needs to say it, apologies if it breaks your comments policy) has been more than fair in offering constructive criticism of the NBN and the policians both attacking and defending it’s validity on both sides.

        You’re only poisoning one of the fairer minded commentaries out there about it. Cut it out, and vent elsewhere, I don’t want to read intellectually stimulating arguments both for and against, not kindergarten barbs and ideological tantrums (however eloquent they may be).

        • Murdoch
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink |

          Sheesh … talk about proofreading … that last bit was supposed to read ….

          “I WANT to read intellectually stimulating arguments both for …. “

          • SaveTheNBN
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink |

            Murdoch

            “I don’t want to read intellectually stimulating arguments both for and against”

            I agree totally with you on this but here we have a post by Renai that starts with a lie and then proceeds to justify this with lame arguments and with rising indignation that NBN co won’t immediately bend to his will.

            By all means start a campaign for monthly updates from NBN co but try to do it without acting like a 2 year old that wants to open his Christmas presents 2 weeks before Christmas.

      • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink |

        “My thoughts, from a rollout standpoint, it would be nice to have monthly reports. But if I consider the (at times) unnecessary poison that has come from other sectors of the media (as in mainstream broadsheets), then quarterly reporting gives the trolls disguised as journalists less chaff to stick their noses in, and is good enough. ”

        Another one gets it…

        Every bit of data is a blessing and a curse.

        And for every bit, it is a distraction from ‘building the thing’

    20. damien
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

      Monthly reports would be daft.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

        Care to say why?

        • damien
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

          It’s already been mentioned why.

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink |

        “Monthly reports would be daft.”

        Say what now?

        Make your case, but that sounds like a daft statement.

        • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink |

          I don’t think they’d be daft. I think they’d be no better or worse than quarterly. But I don’t see why, because one person believes they should have monthly reports, they SHOULD have monthly reports?

          If the government or oversight committee calls for them to have monthly reports, they need to have monthly reports. Otherwise, why spend time on a pointless crusade that proves nothing beyond the fact that NBNCo. are doing what they’re told by the people and committee appointed to oversee them?

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

            Not arguing whether they should, could, or would…

            …doesn’t mean they are “daft”…big enterprises do their main accounts processing once a month. Querying the database to say “how many connections?” once a month is a trivial exercise.

            Quarterly reports may be reasonable. So might monthly reports.

            I can’t see how they could be considered “daft” though.

            • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

              “Querying the database to say “how many connections?” once a month is a trivial exercise.”

              Very true. Premises passed may be a little harder, but finding out how many active users NBN Co has is literally a matter of querying a database at this point.

              • Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

                Premises passed should be relatively easy too – it’s a matter of the subcontractors actually doing the build getting the paper work in – (for quality control of the data) – on a reasonable schedule, schedules which would be part of the sub-contracts.

                It falls down if the paperwork is inaccurate, but still should be fairly close to the mark.

                It’s a data management exercise, rather than a “physically building the thing” exercise.

            • Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink |

              And I quite explicitly said I don’t think they’d be daft. They are, however, NOT what NBNCo. is required to do.

              If Renai or others wish for them to report monthly, perhaps they can lobbying Conroy or MP’s on the Oversight committee to do so. Asking like this appears and I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but like a baby asking for something he KNOWS he can’t have, because he doesn’t like it.

              They have a monthly Ready for Service report. Several people take the time every month to go through and point out premises completed, etc. Why is that not good enough, along with the Quarterly reports, the 6 monthly reports from the Oversight committee AND the yearly reports in the CP?

              If they spend any more time “reporting” they’ll not have any rollout getting done… (exaggeration I know, but it makes my point). We have Quarterly reporting at work and a weekly meeting. We do not report our KPI’s in the weekly meeting, it is just a meeting to discuss current issues. They spend a WEEK getting the quarterly report ready….and 3 minutes jotting down questions for the weekly. A quarterly has ALOT more info, work and checking done. I’d prefer NBNCo. keep with this and have their admin staff spend their time checking numbers so they’re right every quarter.

              • Paul Grenfell
                Posted 10/12/2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

                +1

              • GongGav
                Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink |

                In my experience, at some point or another it DOES become daft to request that information.

                On what date do they extract the information? 1st of the month? 5th? 10th?

                The shorter the timeframe for the report, the larger the percentage of that timeframe is spent on reporting. Simple fact.

                You’re talking about collating information across 100’s of sub contractors, and getting their most up to date figures very very regularly. Which for starters isnt going to happen with anywhere near the regularity NBN Co would require.

                So they arent going to report until something like the 5th of the month at best, or later depending on weekends and holidays, then NBN Co needs to do their reports. By the time it came out, its the 2nd or 3rd week of the following month, and journos bitch about how late it is…

                Within NBN co, they would be reporting on a best guess, which is good enough for an internal report, but wont be good enough for the general public.

                What do you think the journo’s would do if they get a monthly report stating that 200,000 premises were passed, and then the quarterly report says it was 190,000? You can be pretty certain various ‘journalists’ would be all over NBN Co for such a ‘glaring’ error.

              • Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

                “And I quite explicitly said I don’t think they’d be daft. They are, however, NOT what NBNCo. is required to do.”

                That was a reference back to the OP in this branch of the thread.

                My argument is that there should be little or no difference between gurging a monthly report as opposed to a quarterly report.

                Which one you do is a political question.

                • Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |

                  “My argument is that there should be little or no difference between gurging a monthly report as opposed to a quarterly report. Which one you do is a political question.”

                  This.

                • Mr Creosote
                  Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:32 pm | Permalink |

                  Which one you do is a company decision. It’s about they want to allocate their resources. Preparing monthly reports is just a simple “press a button and its done” exercise as is being portrayed here. I have prepared various monthly reports for different companies, and there is always issues to be reconciled, resolved, etc. This is in spite of the fact that there is defined processes in place. Reconciling the reports always involves input from other departments, etc. It can be a time and resource intensive process.
                  NBN Co aren’t hiding anything as has been implied. They have processes I place to report quarterly. They have been reporting quarterly. We are almost at the end of another reporting period. Why should NBN Co be expected to break that report down into monthly reports?
                  Interestingly, the first two would be December and January, which in every construction industry have large gaps of inactivity. This would make those two initial reports look like NBN CO is going slow. Quarterly reporting will smooth those anomalies. No doubt Turnbull would be very happy to get his hands on Dec and Jan reports to peddle his line that its going too slow though.
                  Sorry, but I smell a beat up.

                  • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
                    Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink |

                    +1

              • Tinman_au
                Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink |

                “If they spend any more time “reporting” they’ll not have any rollout getting done”

                I sure hope they don’t have their accounting/PR teams out doing fibre for that to be true :o)

                My main point is that more transparency is rarely a bad thing (lack of transparency is, after all, one of the things that is making Malcolm look so bad at the moment).

                NBNCo would, more than likely, have these stats available in a form they could probably pipe directly to a web page live if they actually feel inclined (in fact, that would also be awesome!). The full reports required by auditors take a lot longer, yes, but thats because it’s a legal requirement for them and they have to be checked over very carefully, but what Renai is asking for is not the full report.

                • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
                  Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

                  “I sure hope they don’t have their accounting/PR teams out doing fibre for that to be true :o)”

                  No. But it adds to the ‘wages’ issue.

                  ‘Hey, would you stay back for some overtime? We have this report to do….’

                  “My main point is that more transparency is rarely a bad thing (lack of transparency is, after all, one of the things that is making Malcolm look so bad at the moment).”

                  Often lack of transparency suggests a bigger surprise.

                  Monthly, Quarterly. who really cares.
                  What we care about is if there is an issue.
                  But it’s very hard to make that clear when we have to rumage through all aspects of the data to come to a conclusion.

                  Far better to do this quarterly.
                  Than monthly.

                  Could you imagine reporters staying up to midnight every night to cross check the exact cause of rollout figures on a monthly basis….?

                  It’s hard enough to get them to do it quarterly..

                  most of the populous won’t read the reports.
                  they will just read the headlines…

                  Headlines, that by definition, take a negative slant

                  Data is useful.
                  Data without context, is a waste of time…

                  • Michael
                    Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink |

                    Considering that there have been offers to journalists to have ghost written articles delivered supporting the NBN, maybe some of those resources could be diverted into preparing the statistics that Renai is asking for?

                    • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
                      Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink |

                      It’s a valid point.
                      But NBNco have no responsibility to do so.
                      NBNco have a responsibility to report to their clients.
                      And that is the Government.
                      The government then has a responsibility to report to the people.

                      This is very hard to do at a ramp up stage of any build.
                      So they do it quarterly..

                      Suffice to say, when there is more to report, it will be easier to report it….
                      The ramp up has only just started.
                      Any conclusions at this stage, would be inconclusive.
                      So for NBNco to worry the public with information that is easily mis-reported/mis-represented, would be irresonsible

                      And hence why quartely is the period atm…

    21. Woolfe
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

      *Shrug*,

      I don’t disagree with Renai for asking.
      But I also don’t disagree with NBN Co for saying no, we do them quarterly.

      I don’t know why people are getting up in arms.

      I don’t think it portrays either party in a bad light. Renai is trying to get as much info as possible. NBNco are trying to stick to their stated info release dates.

      If Renai gets info sooner, hey cool. If he doesn’t… oh well.

    22. Sydney
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

      Frequent reporting (e.g. monthly) also gives opposition politicians a free kick. Why? Because if, between November and December there are zero new fibre premises passed, it gives the pollies the opportunity to come up with some gormless line like “NBN CO DOES NOTHING FOR A MONTH: PROOF PROJECT IS A DISASTER”, when in fact there may have been a _massive_ amount of work going on behind the scenes.

      Don’t forget the average build time for an FSAM is 12 months from the date a contractor is instructed to start to the date they hand it back to NBN Co for activation. So, for 12 months, zero premises in that FSAM are going to be ‘passed’ or ‘activated’. Given NBN Co has done large releases of batches of FSAMs to contractors (e.g. the three year announcement) there’s going to appear — on paper — to be very little progress for months at at time, because the premises passed and activated numbers don’t get updated as the construction process moves along.

      And before you jump in and say, “yeah, well, they should start giving stats on where the construction in each FSAM is up to then”, bear in mind that building out an FSAM isn’t always a linear process — sometimes it’s going to be necessary to jump backward and forward between steps depending on the availability of contractor specialist staff, dependencies on third party organisations (think energy companies and power poles, or Telstra fixing up its pits and pipes).

      Given all these factors, quarterly reporting is actually the fairest way to see the numbers. Monthly certainly isn’t, because it will give critics the opportunity to make snide soundbites without really considering the reality of the roll-out.

    23. Stephen H
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |

      There is a big difference between “concealing” and “wait until we publish the reports at the end of the quarter”. This sensationalist headline (and indeed, story) is unworthy of Delimiter.

    24. Posted 10/12/2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink |

      NBN Co has released detailed rollouts stats every month. See http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=2020959

      You won’t be able to determine how many premises have been activated or passed from this rollout but if you’re after projections for lots passed over the next 12 months, the details are there.

      I’m not sure what you’re complaining about in this article Renai: were you not aware of the Monthly Ready For Service Rollout Plan documents or are you complaining that NBN Co did not release summary info in a PR-friendly form?

    25. Tailgator
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink |

      So tell me Renai, what is the bloody point? Why is it important to receive a monthly update? What possible benefit can be had by a getting such frequent updates?
      So you can write an article about how “NBNCo only connected X premises in the last four weeks!”.
      And then everyone can discuss the possible causes such as …’well it’s Christmas/New Year’, or ‘there was a long weekend’, or ‘it rained for xx days which slowed down the connection rate!’ or engage in some other equally inane discussion.
      It’s simply laughable. All it is doing is trivializing the data to the point of absurdity. And quite frankly your argument that ‘it’s an election year and it’s only half a year away’ to be an absolute joke. As if the difference between quarterly and monthly reporting and the subsequent stats will make a difference regarding election intentions and outcomes.
      Tell you what …. why don’t you ask for additional data such as a break down into areas, who the contractors were, or even why Mrs Jones at No#4 got upset about her roses?

      What a waste of time. Either that or I suggest you are playing with it. In which case stop it or you will go blind.

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink |

        “As if the difference between quarterly and monthly reporting and the subsequent stats will make a difference regarding election intentions and outcomes.”

        Indeed it could, especially if the election is at the end of a quarter.

        • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink |

          See my post below…

          http://delimiter.com.au/2012/12/10/nbn-co-conceals-updated-rollout-stats/#comment-536882

        • Tailgator
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink |

          And with respect I think that amply demonstrates the trivialization that I mentioned. Or are you seriously suggesting that voter opinions and intentions come the election should be influenced by a 1 or 2 monthly reports? That voters should ignore the larger issues such as the intent of the NBN itself and the decades long impact of the project on the basis of a couple of monthly reports?
          Sorry, but I think your focus on the micro reporting aspects is blinding you to the macro issues that surround the NBN policy.
          (Oh, and I thought you were winding down for Xmas ;))

          • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink |

            “Or are you seriously suggesting that voter opinions and intentions come the election should be influenced by a 1 or 2 monthly reports? That voters should ignore the larger issues such as the intent of the NBN itself and the decades long impact of the project on the basis of a couple of monthly reports?”

            YOu seem to be nailing it on the head at the moment..

            More reporting would be helpful in some respects.
            But it’s hardly newsworthy why it isn’t being done more periodically.
            In fact, at this stage there is very little to report…

            Next year, we can look closer. As more premises start to get connected…

    26. Bruce Wallace
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink |

      Storm in a tea cup, Renai.
      Monthly, quarlerly.

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink |

        It’s not a storm in a teacup if you consider how many NBN Co reports we’ll get before the next election. It may not be that many.

    27. Anthony Wasiukiewicz
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink |

      “Unfortunately what this does do is trivialize the data and reduces commentary to arguments about how, why, whom issues such as how many holidays, what the weather was like, etc etc when discussing variabilities. Essentially just a lot of white noise. Because at the end of the day (election time) everyone (including Renai) will not only be looking at raw numbers but also the trends.”

      I think that sums it up…

      http://whrl.pl/Rdpcn9

    28. Anthony Wasiukiewicz
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink |

      See my post below…

      http://delimiter.com.au/2012/12/10/nbn-co-conceals-updated-rollout-stats/#comment-536882

    29. Tinman_au
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink |

      Whats going on here guys? You (rightly) wont let Malcolm off the hook for stuff like this (obfuscation), so why is it ok for NBNCo?

      With the way they currently report, they’ll only get 3, possibly 4, more reports in before the election, they need to show they are doing better at it a lot sooner so the Australian public can actually get that information straight, and not filtered through a couple of dodgy Australian articles.

      The sooner/quicker that type of information dissemination and shenanigans can be sorted, the better things will actually be for the NBN.

      • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink |

        “With the way they currently report, they’ll only get 3, possibly 4, more reports in before the election,”

        I know, let’s do monthly reports.. No, Weekly.
        Umm. No. Let’s get NBNco to give us Daily reports.
        Hourly reports…
        When they arrive, when they leave, when the go to the toilet, and when they look north…..

        Short term reports provide short term glimpses/trends…

        It isn’t an accurate evaluation and all it does is distract from what they should be doing.
        And that is building the thing…

        Quarterly reports are enough.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

          “I know, let’s do monthly reports.. No, Weekly.
          Umm. No. Let’s get NBNco to give us Daily reports.
          Hourly reports…”

          Now your just being silly…

          Within 12 months, I hope the current “less than a handful” of reports will be enough for NBNCo to overcome the Murdoch Media’s war that’s going to be waged against it…

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink |

            @Tinman

            Let’s be honest here- You could do DAILY reports, with an exact timeframe for when every household was going to be connected….and for many, MANY voters it would mean squat to them.

            The NBN is a secondary of not, for alot, tertiary consideration for voters. Unfortunately, asylum seeker policy (which affects all of <20 000 people a year) and the Carbon Tax (shown to not be a 3-headed Chimera) coupled with ingrained political bias, is what people in this country vote for.

            All the smear from MSM about the NBN will largely be ignored by the rusted on Conservatives, as much as it will be by stolid, blue-collar workers. They're ALL going to vote based on already decided bias.

            The swing voters are the key and for them, the scandals of parliament, the "inhuman" asylum policies, the real affect of the Carbon tax, is what is going to influence their vote. Perhaps some small number, 0.2, maybe 0.7%, might vote as a direct consequence of the NBN. But with the latest polls showing, what was it, only some 23% of people believe the NBN won't continue under the Coalition? It seems unlikely to be a large vote winner. It is simply too "old news" to be that effective- after all, the same argument is always used- it's been going for "5 years" and many people haven't seen anything. They won't, right up until the day someone bangs on their door to install it.

            The amount of reporting of numbers NBNCo. does will be relevant for us select few who follow it and the policy makers. That's it. To the public at large, they are just that- more numbers.

          • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
            Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink |

            Yes I was being silly. But it illustrated a point.
            It was mentioned above in the comments, you can report it daily, but the rollout wouldn’t change.
            All we would get is a distraction from the real issue.

            And that is ‘Is it being built?’

            As for the Murdoch Media. It is dying a slow death.
            And there are emerging forces that are doing quite well in countering it…

    30. socrates
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink |

      As one who has complete confidence in the value that NBN will provide for many years, I have to confess that I am starting to wonder why NBN Co with their large management team of well-paid executives do not seem to have been able to get the roll-out up to operational speed before now.

      We have been patient through the planning, testing and implementation phases, but enough time has now passed for the production numbers to start appearing on the board, and they don’t seem to be. What is the problem?

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink |

        @socrates

        No problem. The ramp up started just after June. We could JUST see it beginning to make an indent in September reporting (which reports July-Sep) and we will see, no doubt, a much larger dent in this quarter. However, don’t forget, the ramp has a 12 month delay from when it starts to when we see runs on the board. A daily blow-by-blow like we regularly do, often omits this perspective.

    31. Simon Shaw
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink |

      Although I agree monthly reporting would be nice, I can understand their viewpoint. They have said quarterly, you get quarterly.

      We recently had finance people in wanting detailed stats, we provided them after a fair bit of work.
      Then we had to again for another party a few weeks later, then more with tweaked inclusions/exclusions.

      It ended up getting very tiresome and time consuming, so I can understand NBNCo’s view here.

      I admit, in an election year, it would be helpful, but if say, June is really slow for some reason, won’t people jump all over it? Also what happens when someone wants weekly etc?

      Willing to reserve judgement on NBNCo… For now.

    32. NBNAlex
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink |

      As an “evidence based site”…

      If the reports are meant to be monthly and are only being presented quarterly, then NBNCo are indeed concealing stats.

      If they are meant to be quarterly and are delivering quarterly they are not.

      From my understanding the latter applies, so…

    33. Core
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink |

      “NBN Co conceals updated rollout stats”

      Surely this title is misleading? They have always been releasing quarterly updates so unless they’ve stopped giving out the usual information they normally do on a quarterly basis, I fail to see how they could be concealing anything.

      Renai, this article appears to be more like a spoilt child not getting what they want.

      Sure I don’t mind seeing monthly reports from NBNCo but that doesn’t mean they will release it just because some nobody asks them to. You would have more chance sending an email to the parliamentary joint committee and asking NBNCo to release more frequent reports.

    34. Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink |

      To be honest I don’t think many people understand why this article was written. It stems from this previous article:

      http://delimiter.com.au/2012/11/28/turnbulls-right-under-construction-nbn-stats-are-worthless/

      “At all times we will avoid using the premises completed or commenced statistic, as we consider it misleading and open to manipulation. As an alternative, we will ask NBN Co to give more regular updates on how many premises it has passed (completed), as we consider this the prime benchmark by how the company’s progress should be judged. On the first of each calendar month, starting this Saturday 1st December, Delimiter will query NBN Co’s public relations spokespeople or management and ask for an updated figure for this statistic. Taken over time, this should be the best way to judge NBN Co’s rollout speed; after 3-4 months, it should be easy to see the company’s rollout ramping up on this benchmark. If NBN Co declines to provide this figure on a monthly basis, that will only give credence to Malcolm Turnbull’s argument that the company has the transparency of “the Kremlin”. Fair?”

      Why are you all surprised I wrote this article today, when I publicly said I was going to ask NBN Co about this issue on the 1st of each month and publish their response?

      • Tailgator
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink |

        No surprise on my part at all. However what is interesting is the manner in which your concern regarding the validity of the metrics provided by NBNCo has morphed into a demand that they provide monthly reports. Moving from metrics to frequency. As I have previously posted, imo demanding monthly reports trivializes the progress the of NBNCo by reducing the focus to extremely short term goals along with all the concomitant variables and minor issues. As such I consider it to be retrograde in the extreme.
        To summarize;
        1. Monthly reports introduces a focus on short term goals.
        2. Promotes arguments and discussions focused on equally short term variables.
        3. Draws attention away from more important long term trends
        4. Promotes a heavily weighted perception based on those very short term metrics (given an election is just months away).
        5. Detracts from macro concepts and reasons for the establishment of the NBN in the first place.

        So Renai, if you want to judge NBNCo and the validity of the policy intentions on the basis of a month by month report of connections made then go for it. Your choice. Personally I would suggest you lift your gaze from your navel and remain focused on the bigger issues – such as …. Which policy is better?

        • Raymond
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink |

          no, no, we must be transparent and democratic, we will have monthly numbers – and we will ask the liberals for theirs.

          nbnco will generate their accurate numbers, the liberals will just say whatever – both sides will have answered and renai will be happy.

          unfortunately answers are not the be all and end all – its whats in those answers that counts, its why renai wants more details (or at least wants them from the side that can actually generate some) – which i understand but dont accept is actually required at that level

          sadly theres no actual point in relation to an election as all we can compare is policy at that level – the liberals have no numbers, they dont know takeup rates, they dont know timeframes, nothing to any degree of certainty.

          so we compare policies and try to work out which would benefit us more – perhaps if renai is interested in the election he should delve into both sides policies at a much higher level, point of the good and bad from both sides, but hey, im just a reader, thats his job.

          • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink |

            “perhaps if renai is interested in the election he should delve into both sides policies at a much higher level, point of the good and bad from both sides, but hey, im just a reader, thats his job”

            We’ve debated the broadband policies of both sides in great depth on this site for more than three years now ;)

      • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink |

        No one is surprised you wrote the article.
        Some are just surprised by your findings.

        And as for the ‘Kremlin’, ‘Reds Under the Beds’ anyone?

        Fear
        Uncertainty
        Doubt

        If you can’t win an argument with fact, fill it with FUD.
        And that’s what Turnbull is doing.

        That is where you should be placing your attentio
        At the very least until such time as more reporting comes from NBNco. That is, the end of the quarter…..

      • Raymond
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink |

        interesting title and graphic. you dont feel them to be misleading in any way at all? can you explain the censorship? or the concealment? as far as i can tell nothing has been censored, and concealing them from whom? just you?

        does monthly vs quarterly results actually construe concealment? do you know for certain that monthly reports are actually being created internally? or is it possible these people have access to the raw numbers and dont really need the reports every month? ie they can get a daily status just by looking.

        do we, the public, need that level? transparency is well and good but what purpose does it serve in an election context? which is why your proposing this correct?

        btw, why submit an foi request for this quarters results? waste of time and money, theyre going to get published anyway.

      • Mr Creosote
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink |

        The thing that I don’t agree with in that paragraph is the insinuation of a lack of transparency. NBN Co said they would report quarterly and that’s what they are doing. They haven’t hidden anything. Turnbull was being spurious yet again. Just because NBN Co aren’t meeting someone else’s deadlines, doesn’t mean they are doing something wrong.

    35. Tailgator
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink |

      No no. You do that Renai. Submit your FIO request each month, and each month us readers can click on this site, check whether NBNCo met their targets, and then engage in mind numbing and inconsequential discussion as to the reasons why. Then when the election comes, we can look back and decide whether the NBN is a good thing or not based on those 6-8months of reports. That is what you are suggesting, your justification, is it not?

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink |

        @Tailgator

        ^This. The NBN has been through a process, if you want to get technical, of 7 years in length. It’s going to take another 9 years to complete. That’s 16 years, from the day Telstra said “what about an FTTN network” to done, finished and dusted. And we’re supposed to judge the merit of the entire project based solely on 9 months worth of data?

        I don’t care if the NBN takes a year or 2 extra to build. Nor if it cost $5 Billion more than they thought (both of which I think is unlikely) because the scope of this project is SO far beyond FTTN and ANY commercial solution that it must be judged as such.

        One person does not judge the success or failure of their 80 year life on 3 years of being Prime Minister. If they do, they’ve, frankly, failed as a human being. Those 3 years are important, probably life affirming, but if they’re all you lived for and then nothing before or after, what was the point? The NBN is exactly the same- judging the NBN on 9 months worth of data about a rollout that may be behind schedule is pointless in the context of the FIFTY YEARS it will be around and for the 50 beyond when it will still likely be the backbone of further upgrades.

        Short term politicised judgements on whether the NBN is successful because it has only reached 84% of its’ rollout targets this month are utterly pointless. The NBN shouldn’t be political and by cowtailing to this sort of judgement, we’d be doing nothing more than relegating it to being “just another policy” that everyone forgets 6 months after a government gets in.

        We should be arguing the merits of the project, not of 9 months worth of rollout. Sure, we have to watch its’ progress and if things take a turn for the worse it may have to be modified or reorganised. But that’s not to say we need to focus on the 9 months of rollout as the single measure of whether or not its’ worth voting for at the next election. People who vote like that can’t see the long term picture. And I for one don’t understand the mindset of voting ONLY on policies that will affect the country in the next 3 years. Probably to the tune of all of $3 a week to most Australians…

      • Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink |

        “No no. You do that Renai. Submit your FIO request each month, and each month us readers can click on this site, check whether NBNCo met their targets, and then engage in mind numbing and inconsequential discussion as to the reasons why. Then when the election comes, we can look back and decide whether the NBN is a good thing or not based on those 6-8months of reports. That is what you are suggesting, your justification, is it not?”

        The purpose is to test the claims of both NBN Co and Turnbull.

        NBN Co says it’s in rapid ramp-up phase. It’s hard to see that with only three month reports. It’s much easier with month to month reports — the graph should be a lot steadier.

        Turnbull says NBN Co isn’t meeting its targets and is incredibly slow. With more regular reports, we can more easily test Turnbull’s claims that NBN Co just isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do and has the pace of an arthritic snail.

        I honesty don’t think reports every three months are going to give us accurate enough information, in these early days, to get a feel for what’s going on. In later years, when NBN Co has hundreds of thousands of active users and many more premises passed, quarterly updates will be fine — or even six monthly updates, at a certain point.

        But we’re at a crux point. Real Soon Now we’ll have an election, and we may only have one or two NBN Co reports from here until then. To judge the accuracy of both sides’ claims, and to judge the viability of what the Coalition may do to NBN Co and the rollout in general if it wins that next election, we need more information.

        I asked NBN Co for that information, and then when they refused, I filed a Freedom of Information request. To hold both sides to account. So sue me. Any member of the public is free to do the same.

        • Anthony Wasiukiewicz
          Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink |

          “The purpose is to test the claims of both NBN Co and Turnbull.

          “NBN Co says it’s in rapid ramp-up phase. It’s hard to see that with only three month reports. It’s much easier with month to month reports — the graph should be a lot steadier.

          “Turnbull says NBN Co isn’t meeting its targets and is incredibly slow. With more regular reports, we can more easily test Turnbull’s claims that NBN Co just isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do and has the pace of an arthritic snail.

          At the end of the reporting season. You will know.
          And you can write an article with your conclusions then.

          I honesty don’t think reports every three months are going to give us accurate enough information, in these early days, to get a feel for what’s going on. In later years, when NBN Co has hundreds of thousands of active users and many more premises passed, quarterly updates will be fine — or even six monthly updates, at a certain point.

          “But we’re at a crux point. Real Soon Now we’ll have an election, and we may only have one or two NBN Co reports from here until then. To judge the accuracy of both sides’ claims, and to judge the viability of what the Coalition may do to NBN Co and the rollout in general if it wins that next election, we need more information.

          And as others have suggested. We are at the Christmas Break.
          All periods have issues.
          That’s why they do it quarterly. It gives a better overall account.

          “I asked NBN Co for that information, and then when they refused, I filed a Freedom of Information request. To hold both sides to account. So sue me. Any member of the public is free to do the same.

          I think the bigger issue here that everyone objects to is your use of the Headline to grab attention.
          Thankfully you have the ability for comments to stay posted. Or comments at all.
          Unlike other media outlets….

          This comment, is another one that sums it up:
          http://delimiter.com.au/2012/12/10/nbn-co-conceals-updated-rollout-stats/#comment-537102

    36. MarkD
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink |

      Are we sure it’s merely a matter of querying a database and pasting the results?

      What if the sub-contractors are only providing quarterly progress reports to NBNCo? Or what if the subbies are reporting on completion events for payment rather than on a calendar basis?

      A lot of the NBNCo data is not created by them. Rather it is supplied by 3rd parties.

    37. Bob
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink |

      I’m going to assume that if it takes 1 week to write a *public* report out of a 4 week month, then it takes up 25% of an employees time to do it.

      If you do it quarterly, 1 week out of 12, takes an employee 8.3% of their time.

      To be honest, we all loves stats, the more the merrier, but numbers can be hidden away in systems, and to put numbers into meanings takes time, effort and can slow down systems.

      I’d say its more to do with time management and weighing up if doing it monthly rather than quarterly offers any major benefits, which is subjective, along with the fact if its reasonable and realistic.

      Asking for NBN Co to write you one every month, because you think thats the way it should be done, we’ll I’m not so sure. If they can do it, then no worries, if they say the cannot, can you blame them?

    38. Gwyntaglaw
      Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink |

      There’s a phenomenon in government called “death by accountability”. It’s the effect of having so much oversight, so many people reporting on other people, that the whole organisation grinds to a halt and becomes defensive, rather than focussing on delivering the service itself.

      People obsess over data quality issues (a big thing), irregularities and other data quirks, and constantly having explain, explain, explain everything. The finer the data granularity, the more small fluctuations will create false trends.

      It is often assumed, incorrectly, that data can just be streamed directly to some website automatically, without any human intervention (or spin) required. The reality is much more complex – the last thing you want is publishing stats that then have to be remediated and corrected. That robs confidence in the data and creates countless issues that simply didn’t need to exist.

      Postscript: the problem of this level of accountability could be solved, perversely, if the entire rollout operation were outsourced to a private company (something the Libs have championed). Can you imagine a Telstra publishing more and more internal figures about their rollout operations? They’d tell you all to take a jump, commercial-in-confidence and all that!

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink |

        It reminds me of that old development joke.
        “We are months behind on this project. I want you all to prepare reports on what you’ve done, what you are doing, progress, estimated completion time for meetings that will be held twice a day until the situation improves”

    39. Harimau
      Posted 11/12/2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink |

      ITT: Malcolm criticises NBN rollout speed; Renai criticises NBNCo reporting frequency.

      Claiming that not receiving monthly information instead of quarterly information (which is current company policy) is NBNCo “concealing” information is disingenuous at best, and a lie at worst. You’ve got no leg to stand on here. A more appropriate and more accurate headline would have been “NBNCo expects us to wait for updated rollout stats”. Doesn’t have quite the same draw though, I guess.

      Your first sentence, too:
      “The National Broadband Network Company has declined to provide updated statistics relating to how many premises its predominantly fibre network has covered over the past two and half months, stating that it will only release updated details on its rollout every calendar quarter.”

      Here’s what I got from that:
      >In two weeks’ time, NBNCo will release updated roll-out statistics for the last three months to date.<

      Seriously? The election's late next year, I'm sure we can wait two more weeks, with no harm done.

      Monthly reporting is just your preference, let's be honest here. The question though is, what do you believe you can do with the monthly reports, should you receive them?

      NBNCo is not the ALP government, so the election (really) has nothing to do with them. They're just folks trying to do their job, and they are doing their job. Heckling the workers isn't going to bring about change when they aren't the ones making the decisions; you're just diminishing, and detracting from, what they do.

    40. Bruce Wallace
      Posted 11/12/2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink |

      Renai said
      “Turnbull says NBN Co isn’t meeting its targets and is incredibly slow. With more regular reports, we can more easily test Turnbull’s claims that NBN Co just isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do and has the pace of an arthritic snail.”

      Don’t you see Turnbull’s tactics here.
      He has nothing in the way of policy. He cannot argue against the technology that Labor are doing.
      He has to complain about inconsequential things that are minor for such a mammoth project.
      It is sad for me that such an important piece of infrastructure is thrashed by a short sighted political party.
      And people have been taken hook line and sinker.

    41. ozimarco
      Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink |

      With all due respect, Renai, I think it is unreasonable to ask NBNCo to release monthly updates. On a project that is set to run for ten years, quarterly updates give you more than enough information to see the upward curve of the rollout ramp-up. These kind of mammoth projects always take forever to get up to speed but when they do, they are like a freight train, almost unstoppable. We are all as impatient as you to get the NBN and would like to see live progress charts if it was possible, but I think three monthly updates are quite reasonable. All you are doing with your article is playing into Malcolm Turnbull’s hands but maybe that is your purpose.

      • Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink |

        “maybe that is your purpose”

        Yes, it’s true, I am a shill for the Coalition, thanks for reminding me of my bias.

    42. Stats
      Posted 11/12/2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink |

      Renai, I think you are pointing the blame in the direction. NBN Co have been mandated to report monthly and to report the statistics as Commenced or Completed as requested by the oversight committee which involves Labor, Liberal and Independents.

      So you can’t blame NBN Co for this situation, you can’t blame Stephen Conroy and you can’t blame Malcolm Turnball, you can blame the oversight committee as a whole. If that committee asked for them monthly and put that as a suggestion to Stephen Conroy and then his department made that request then it could happen.

      P.S. Sorry if this has already been mentioned. I didn’t read all 150 comments

    43. Goresh
      Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink |

      It takes around a year from start of construction to the point the first services can be connected.

      That means that from time of letting, there will be no change what-so-ever in statistics for a year.

      What is the point of 11, monthly, no-progress reports followed by 1, 100% roll-out report?

      There is no point in regular reports of finished product over shorter time-frames than construction time.

      Quarterly reports can capture the projects that have completed due to staggered start dates, but again, the frequency of reports should not exceed the frequency of completing/beginning projects.

    44. Posted 11/12/2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink |

      OK everyone, let’s pipe down.

      I can see that the overwhelming response from readers to this issue is that NBN Co is doing a good enough job at supplying quarterly reports and that there’s no need for monthly reports.

      A secondary sentiment that I’m getting from readers is that I shouldn’t be wasting my time examining NBN Co’s performance, and should instead be focusing on criticising Turnbull and the Coalition for what many people claim is a lack of a rival NBN policy.

      My final response to this issue is that I am not planning to back down from my stance that NBN Co should provide monthly reports on its progress, at least in the short term. I have said that I will query the company on the 1st of every month, and I will continue to do that. This is an issue which I believe more transparency is needed on, and despite the fact that you all appear to think I am an asshole (quite possibly I am!), I will continue to seek that transparency.

      However, I will take your feedback on board for future articles and will tone down the rhetoric (headline, image etc) to a more modest rhetoric.

      With respect to criticising the Coalition’s rival policy and Turnbull himself … well, you guys know that I’ve done a lot of that in the past and will continue to do it in future where warranted.

      But I’m not going to become, as it appears some of you would like, the sort of person who finds a way to criticise Turnbull and the Coalition no matter what they say and despite evidence that they may be correct on some issues.

      To sum up: I’ll take the reader feedback and overwhelming sentiment on board with respect to this issue and will tone down my approach a little. But I will also stick to my principles and continue to pursue transparency with NBN Co on a monthly basis, as I said I would do. In the meantime, I will continue to be vigilant with regards to the Coalition and Mr Turnbull.

      Fair? :)

      Comments closed — I’ve had enough of being screamed at and I’m almost on vacation.




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