news NBN Co today revealed it would substantially downgrade its forecast figure for how many premises its fibre network will have passed by the end of June this year, with the figure shifting down from an initial 341,000 premises (including green- and brownfields premises) to between 190,000 and 220,000 premises, as construction delays have continued to bite the company.
“Following a board meeting today, NBN Co has revised down its forecast for the rollout of fibre optic cable to reflect a delay of about three months,” the company said in a media release late this afternoon, ahead of a planned teleconference with chief executive Mike Quigley. “Some of NBN Co’s construction contractors have progressed work on the ground at a slower rate than forecast, but this delay will be recovered.”
“The June 2013 Corporate Plan target of passing 341,000 premises with fibre is now expected to be achieved about three months later. Between 190,000 and 220,000 premises are now forecast to be passed by fibre by end June.”
NBN Co CEO, Mike Quigley, said: “We are accountable for the delay and are disappointed it has occurred. “We work closely with our suppliers across all parts of our network to build and monitor their progress to ensure each individual element is ready within the required timeframe.”
“In the case of the volume fibre rollout, NBN Co’s public projections have been underpinned by commitments from our four construction contractors that they would meet the June 30 target. The problem is we are just not seeing the ramp up of construction workers on the ground that would be needed to deliver these targets.”
“This lack of mobilisation, combined with some of our contractors recently lowering their forecasts, has led us to make the judgment call to reforecast our end-of-year projections. That is why we have taken immediate action to address the delay.” NBN Co said it had taken the following actions to remediate the rollout:
- NBN Co will directly manage the Northern Territory rollout to ensure the delivery of fast broadband to the NT and to allow contractor Syntheo to focus on WA and SA. This will see NBN Co create up to 200 jobs in the NT at the peak of the rollout
- NBN Co and its construction partners will train and employ additional specialist telecoms workers (“fibre splicers”) to help recover lost time in the rollout of the network
- NBN Co’s fibre construction contractors will increase their investment in equipment and manpower as well as technology to accelerate on-the-ground design and planning.
According to Quigley, other major deliverables for the NBN’s fibre network were tracking well. ”We have more than 40 telephone and internet service providers selling NBN packages to consumers,” he said. “The rollout of the transit network is on track. We are having no problems with the availability of equipment including the manufacture of fibre, and the implementation of the complex IT systems (OSS/BSS) that underpin the running of the network, also continue to be delivered as expected.”
“I should be clear, this short-term issue will not affect the long-term delivery of the NBN or the overall cost of the project. NBN Co remains on track to deliver fast, affordable and reliable broadband to every Australian by 2021 as set out in our Corporate Plan.”
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