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  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, July 4, 2013 14:05 - 99 Comments

    NBN Co limps in to June target

    NBN fibre rolling out to Blacktown

    news The National Broadband Network Company this afternoon confirmed it had met its revised targets for the rollout of its fibre network to the end of June, revealing that at the end of last month it had connected a total of 207,500 premises; a figure in the middle of its target range of between 190,000 and 220,000.

    The company had previously been targeting a rollout figure of 341,000 premises by the end of June this year, but in mid-March it revised that figure down to between 190,000 and 220,000, stating that it had suffered a delay of about three months in its construction timetable as some of its construction contractors had progressed work “at a slower rate than forecast”. In a new statement this afternoon, NBN Co revealed its fibre network had in fact passed some 207,500 premises by the end of June, and it had more than 70,000 premises using live services.

    “These results are pleasing because they demonstrate that the steps we put in place in March to accelerate the rollout have been successful,” said NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley in the company’s statement. “They provide us with confidence that NBN Co is on track to deliver fast, reliable and affordable broadband to every family and business in Australia over the remaining eight years of this decade-long build.”

    “They also show that NBN Co, together with its industry partners, has the capacity to overcome the challenges inherent in rolling out Australia’s largest national infrastructure project.”

    However, there are questions as to whether the company’s statistics are accurate. NBN Co stipulated in its statement that it was using what it described as “the accepted industry definition of ‘Premises Passed’”, consisting of premises passed by an active telecommunciations network. However, the company also noted that this measure included “those complex premises” that would receive services over the NBN outside of “standard order lead times”. This means that of the premises passed by the NBN, not all will immediately be able to order NBN services from retail ISPs.

    “Premises such as blocks of apartments and large office blocks have always provided challenges to companies rolling out telecommunications networks. The key difference between the NBN and other networks – such as hybrid fibre coaxial (or cable TV) – is that we will provide NBN services to every home and business that orders a service,” Quigley said. “We’re currently working with our delivery partners to do just that. Steps include the work orders we have placed with Downer EDI Engineering Pty Ltd, Daly International Pty Ltd, ISG Management Pty Ltd and Universal Communications Group Limited to connect multi-dwelling units (or “MDUs”) to the NBN.”

    However, the company appears to have concealed the full extent of the issue. The Financial Review reported this afternoon that of NBN Co’s total of 163,500 ‘brownfields’ premises (where NBN Co is replacing Telstra’s copper network with fibre), about a third — 55,000 — could not actually connect to the network yet.

    The company’s updated statistics:

    nbn-metrix-3

    In March, NBN Co said it had taken a number of actions to speed up its rollout, including directly managing 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; training and employing additional specialist telecoms workers (“fibre splicers”) to help recover lost time in the rollout of the network; and NBN Co’s fibre construction contractors were to increase their investment in equipment and manpower as well as technology to accelerate on-the-ground design and planning.

    According to 
Quigley in March, 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 at the time. “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.”

    opinion/analysis
    I want to note a few things here. Firstly, it should be apparent by now that even though NBN Co has hit its targets as outlined in March, that the media and Opposition will still savage these results regardless. NBN Co’s own media release contains an obvious angle — the definition of “premises passed”. I have no idea why the company provided such an obvious angle of attack in its own publicity document, and I have no doubt it will be coming under heavy fire as a result over the next day or so. But then, that’s just par for the course for the NBN at this point.

    What I’m really interested in from the results is not actually the fibre connections, which are growing quite rapidly, but actually the wireless component of the results. If you look at that section of the results, it would appear that NBN Co and its prime wireless contractor, Ericsson, have done almost nothing in the area of wireless over the past year, adding a mere 18,300 premises in a whole year.

    I knew there were delays associated with the wireless network, and there’s certainly been plenty of articles out there about communities rejecting NBN Co’s locations for its wireless towers. But holy incompetence, Batman! Is it really possible that Ericsson has only been able to deploy fixed wireless to a mere 27,300 premises in the two years since the Swedish vendor signed a $1.1 billion contract with NBN Co to roll out the network? Is this really the same vendor which was able to deploy Telstra’s Next G 3G network around Australia in just a year? What the hell is going on here? We’re talking about a billion dollars. Surely Ericsson can do better than this? I’ll be asking NBN Co and Ericsson for comment on the matter.

    Any other issues in the results which stick out to people?

    Image credit: NBN Co

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    99 Comments

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    1. TrevorX
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink |

      How much of the wireless deployment is predicated on the new satellites launching in 2015?

      • Sathias
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink |

        0%

        Fixed Wireless and Satellite are two completely different technologies.

        • TrevorX
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

          Sorry, I thought NBN Co used a combined figure for fixed wireless and satellite.

    2. PeterA
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

      Also wireless networks still need backhaul. It would be interesting to see where the time has gone, I doubt it is as simple as incompetence, more like going to plan given that the figures were expected.

      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

        27,300 premises passed in two years, on a $1.1 billion contract, by a vendor that last year made 227.8 billion in Swedish Krona last year (AU$37.45 billion) is incompetence. Seriously … that’s ridiculous.

        • Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink |

          @Renai

          Not really. Telstra by majority upgraded OLD 2G towers. NBNCo. are requiring negotiated contracts for lease of and setup for entirely new equipment sets on old towers or whole new towers and all Development applications required therein. That’s the problem- the lead in time. Not the construction

          • Mathew
            Posted 05/07/2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink |

            Lead time for experienced project managers should be reasonably easy to estimate. For example on average it takes x months for a council to approve an application, etc.

            • Posted 06/07/2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink |

              Okay… Go.

              Oh wait, you don’t have all the required information like required staff resources and equipment hire, most of which is commercial in confidence.

              We won’t know until we’re told.

    3. Brendan
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

      Yes, “limps in” describes somewhere between the minimum and maximum.

      Just as I “limped in” to work by arriving pretty much on time, rather than 15 minutes late, right? And there might be some questions over the metric used to measure, because some people might use seconds, others use minutes.

      We know there have been delays, it’s hardly a state secret.

      There was talk they were going to (badly) miss even the revised numbers. Which apparently they’ve now met, somewhere in the middle. About where they predicted, no less.

      Should the numbers be a bit better – sure, if there weren’t a raft of issues to address along the way. I’m sure we’d all like to see some hurry-the-f**k-up action. But, they’re getting on with the job of delivering. And meeting targets.

      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink |

        They got over the line for their fibre targets — but not by too much, and their own media release contained disclaimers about how that figure was arrived at. When it comes to the wireless infrastructure, the evidence is that at the moment it is *not* being delivered. 27,300 in two years, off a billion dollar contract? That’s a joke. What is that money being spent on?

        • Brendan
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

          Yeah look I’m not going to jump to assumptive reasoning. I’d hope you’d check why that’s the case before doing the same? I’m just the reader here, LeMay. You’re supposed to know these things. :)

          Telstra’s NextG cellular network isn’t identical to a fixed wireless service now, is it. So whilst the vendor might be the same, there are just as many differences as similarities.

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

          Lawyers fighting NIMBYs where ever they want to put up a mast head.

          • Brendan
            Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

            STOP THE POLES.

            • Early Grayce
              Posted 10/07/2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink |

              They should get my partner to infiltrate the community action groups against fixed wireless. She loves it when a pole is erected around here.
              I think a lot of the whingers that are against the fixed wireless infrastructure are actually just pissed they are not getting FTTP. They should wake up and realise that if the LNP gets into power at the end of this year nobody will be getting FTTP.

        • Chris Watts
          Posted 05/07/2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink |

          “What is that money being spent on?”

          That is a little incongruous Renai. Just because it is a $1.1B contract, doesnt mean that that money has been paid to them yet. There will be progress payments at specific contractual milestones. You are implying wastage when there is non yet apparent except for a particularly slow start (though who knows what is going on behind the scenes).

        • Charles
          Posted 05/07/2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink |

          I don’t know about the other states, but there were sixty wireless towers activated in Tasmania yesterday. I don’t know how many premises this would include – maybe 30-40k?

          But had they been a week earlier, this would have more than doubled the wireless premises “passed”. (I use ‘passed’ in quotes since obviously with wireless it is not a literal description!)

    4. Tailgator
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

      Renai, I suspect your comments are somewhat misguided and inflammatory, perhaps deliberately so?
      Regarding incorporating the definition of ‘premises past’, it is obviously intended to pre-empt attacks by opponents on that very basis. Needless to say, the very same definition has been used by opponents when lauding the existing infrastructure (HFC).
      As for railing at Ericsson, it’s one thing to upgrade hardware on existing infrastructure, it’s another thing entirely to have to wait for the infrastructure to be built.

      But whatever floats your boat. I’m sure you’ll get lots of hits and comments.

      • JayZ
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink |

        Excellent point there mate!

        Why is it ok for Turnbull to use the “premises passed” metric to constantly tell us how many houses can ‘connect’ to the Optus and Telstra HFC cables yet that figure also includes hundreds of thousands of apartments, units, townhouses or other types of properties none of which can actually currently hook up to the HFC network?????

        Hellooo????

        One minute they are bombarding the type of metric yet ironicall they use the same one…

    5. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

      The NBNCo has quoted just half the definition of ‘premises passed’ that is in the corporate plan so they can report an inflated figure. They deserve to be pilloried for doing this. It would show a degree of balance and fair-mindedness if the technology media took them to task for it. Not holding my breath though.

      Turnbull and certain sections of the media have tried some half-arsed attacks on the NBN and the NBNCo. This one is real and I hope they go for it full bore. Transparency and honesty is important.

      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink |

        “Not holding my breath though.”

        Sit tight.

      • Brendan
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink |

        Which statement?

        From Aug 6 plan:

        “Premises Passed — All design, construction, commissioning and quality assurance activities in an
        FSAM have been completed for the Local network and Distribution network.”

        Looks to be the same as above? So which plan does this now not match?

        • CMOTDibbler
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink |

          Aha … good point. That’s the one from the glossary. You will note the definition used now specifies that ““all design, construction, commissioning and quality assurance activities in an FSAM have been completed for the Local network and Distribution network”. That definition does not allow partial FSAMs to be counted.

          It’s the definition Turnbull used a few months back to argue the NBNCo was fiddling the numbers by counting partial FSAMs. The argument against him then was that the definition that should be used is the one that is a footnote to the table in which the targets are specified. That was correct then and it’s correct now.

          However, if we go with your argument and use that defintion, premises that are service class zero can be counted but early access premises in partial FSAMs cannot. So we allow 55,725 service class zero premises and disallow 51,200 early access premises. It doesn’t make much difference really.

      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

        @CMOT

        I really don’t see why. You’ve taken their inclusion in their original definition of “enables an end-user to order a new service” as verbatim. Read it. It doesn’t say that at all. It actually says exactly the same as that provided in the press release, but ADDS that an end-user is enabled to have the ability to order a service. Because they live in MDU’s, this ability isn’t possible. The NETWORK is complete, but the PREMISES isn’t able to order a service.

        Yes, it is a very technical scapegoat. But frankly, the fact that these MDU’s are taking time might not be a bad thing- it may enable an actual debate about whether FTTB is logical in some circumstances rather than the solid “no” up until now. They are still connected to the network and all construction is complete ON that network in that area. The premises simply isn’t able to order a service until the MDU itself organises for connection to that network.

        They are correct in that it meets the definition of the industry. And in fact, in the case of SDUs, surpasses it- Neither Optus nor Telstra call an SDU premises passed and guarantee it can be connected. NBNCo. do. On MDU’s they equal Optus and Telstra and in fact, surpass them to a certain extent- Optus and Telstra will almost certainly NOT connect MDU’s to HFC. NBNCo. will, for free, but only if the Strata/Body Corporate organise it.

        Yes, it might be a sneaky way of getting across the line. But they’ve never changed their definition- it was ALWAYS that the physical network of an area was completed and connected to the home office. The fact that almost only exclusively MDU premises cannot order a service because there is further work BEYOND the normal network to do is unfortunate and frustrating, but not incorrect or the definition.

        Sure, pull it apart, but that’s what I believe.

        • Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink |

          @CMOT

          Ok, fine. You want to take them to the letter of the technical definition, rather than actual reality. Reality is- why NOT connect those premises in FSAMs not yet complete?? Does it break some rule set down by someone?? Is it BAD to connect people early?? No. And so they should go unreported because they don’t meet the absolute technical definition of ‘passed’ because they happen to be in an FSAM, an arbitrary boundary relevant only to NBNCo, that isn’t finished??

          Which is it? Should they not connect these or not report them, even though they can order a service?? And MDUs? They’re connected. But NBNCo. LEGALLY can’t install PCDs into MDUs without permission, UNLIKE SDUs. So, again, they shouldn’t report them as passed cause strata boards are too lazy to spend a week organising NBNCo. visits??

        • Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink |

          @CMOT

          Ok, fine. You want to take them to the letter of the technical definition, rather than actual reality. Remind me to hire you as a lawyer.

          Reality is- why NOT connect those premises in FSAMs not yet complete?? Does it break some rule set down by someone?? Is it BAD to connect people early?? No. And so they should go unreported because they don’t meet the absolute technical definition of ‘passed’ because they happen to be in an FSAM, an arbitrary boundary relevant only to NBNCo, that isn’t finished??

          Which is it? Should they not connect these or not report them, even though they ARE connected to the NBN network.

          And MDUs? They’re connected to the network. But NBNCo. LEGALLY can’t install PCDs into MDUs without permission, UNLIKE SDUs. So, again, they shouldn’t report them as passed cause strata boards are too lazy to spend a week organising NBNCo. visits??

    6. CameronD
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

      I think they included their definition of “premises passed” to give the Opposition a relatively easy thing to attack and a relatively easy thing to defend. Take their eyes away from the lower than desired numbers with a gimme, that while it might be attacked and heavily, it makes the attackers just look like they’re just arguing about semantics. Then Labor steps back and say while LNP are arguing about how a metric is defined, we’re actually delivering. NBN then says it’s an industry accepted metric and then LNP just come off looking foolish and have to come back with they’ll do it quicker and cheaper, which is all they have.

      • Mathew
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink |

        > I think they included their definition of “premises passed” to give the Opposition a relatively easy thing to attack and a relatively easy thing to defend.

        The problem with this definition is that it over states the number of premises that can actually order a service. Did you realise that multi-dwelling units (MDUs) (e.g. apartments) cannot currently order services even though they are counted as premises passed? According to the Australian Financial Review 55,000 premises counted as passed cannot order a service. One of the criticisms of HFC is that MDUs couldn’t order a service, and now we find NBNCo has a similar problem, although MDUs should be able to order a service 18 months after single dwelling units (SDUs).

        The only meaningful figure is premises where a service can be ordered.

        • Posted 06/07/2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink |

          This is what irks me somewhat:

          They can order a service, but that order must be done by the strata, not the individual premises.

          That’s what the problem is here: an extra step, that some lazy MDUs aren’t bothering with, which will naturally annoy some individuals. But unless property access laws are changed to allow infrastructure providers unrestricted access, something I don’t endorse, then that is how it has to be.

          • Posted 06/07/2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink |

            (Yes I am aware a starta placing an order has a longer wait time, as pointed out by the AFR, however that is just another thing that can’t be changed with significant law changes, and even then…each MDU is different)

          • djos
            Posted 06/07/2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink |

            The law gives Telco’s legal right of access up to the point if the building MDF (main distribution frame) but the problem with MDU’s is the infrastructure from there into each premises within the MDU, that requires strata etc permission due to common title access etc etc.

            • Posted 06/07/2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink |

              I realise I could have said it better after I posted it. Thanks for clarifying my point.

              • djos
                Posted 06/07/2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink |

                No worries :-)

    7. Gwyntaglaw
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

      A few thoughts:

      1. The wireless targets are qualitatively different from Telstra 3G/4G rollouts because Telstra ALWAYS rolls from major city centres outwards – capturing large population numbers of coverage for comparatively little effort. NBN Co fixed wireless is very much outside-in, with most deployments in semi-remote areas each covering from a few hundred to a maximum 1000-2000 premises.

      2. The takeup of brownfields sites has gone from 3,400 to 20,400 – a sixfold increase in number of services. The raw percentage takeup rate, however, is just over 12%. This by itself is misleading, as a big chunk of the 163,500 premises passed have only just come on line in the past couple of months, and the ability to connect large numbers quickly is limited. A far better measure is the one NBN Co has used in the past – takeup after 12 months, which looks much better, and has the advantage of reflecting “real-world” data where people could never connect as fast as premises are rolled-past.

      3. The greenfields takeup sits at 30% – which again, must be read in the context that many greenfields sites are literally in the middle of construction, where a service is eventually going to be assured in 70-80% of cases, but people haven’t connect just because they’re not living there yet!

      • Mathew
        Posted 06/07/2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink |

        > 1. The wireless targets are qualitatively different from Telstra 3G/4G rollouts because Telstra ALWAYS rolls from major city centres outwards – capturing large population numbers of coverage for comparatively little effort. NBN Co fixed wireless is very much outside-in, with most deployments in semi-remote areas each covering from a few hundred to a maximum 1000-2000 premises.

        NBNCo are building fixed wireless. There is a fixed limit (200?) imposed on the number of connections per tower, therefore your comparison with Telstra is inaccurate.

        > 2. The takeup of brownfields sites has gone from 3,400 to 20,400 – a sixfold increase in number of services. The raw percentage takeup rate, however, is just over 12%. This by itself is misleading, as a big chunk of the 163,500 premises passed have only just come on line in the past couple of months, and the ability to connect large numbers quickly is limited. A far better measure is the one NBN Co has used in the past – takeup after 12 months, which looks much better, and has the advantage of reflecting “real-world” data where people could never connect as fast as premises are rolled-past.

        Consider that the plan is for Telstra to disconnect the copper after 18 months, it should be very interesting to see the 18 month figures. Sadly NBNCo have been reluctant to release figures in the past or cherry picked figures to give a misleadingly high take-up level.

        3. The greenfields takeup sits at 30% – which again, must be read in the context that many greenfields sites are literally in the middle of construction, where a service is eventually going to be assured in 70-80% of cases, but people haven’t connect just because they’re not living there yet!

    8. Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

      Pretty damning stuff here the AFR:

      http://www.afr.com/p/technology/nbn_statistics_reveal_many_homes_0VcMsUKNI0XGyZ5uoxt6xK

      “of the brownfield premises, more than 55,000 do not have the necessary equipment to get a service … In one part of South Perth, just 8.2 per cent of the premises, or 87 of 1057 premises, that NBN Co claimed had been “passed” by the fibre optic network were able to sign up.”

      • Soth
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink |

        Hmm my brother lives in South Perth and definitely doesn’t have the NBN yet :(

        • TrevorX
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

          I used to – I would have expected take up to be extremely high because the majority of residents can’t get on ADSL2+ due to a lack of ports (the exchange is a tiny 80yo building with no physical space that Telstra have refused to improve or replace for over a decade, even despite iiNet offering to pay for the whole build). In 2007 iiNet alone had over 1000 customers on waiting lists if ports ever became available. The demand is definitely there. It’s a bit rough for those in MDUs that have NBN fibre in the street but can’t get access to it.

          Hey, they’re in a hell of a lot better position than most of us if the LNP get in, at least!

      • Tailgator
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink |

        Damning? Again, if you don’t really understand the definition, the manner in which it has been used both currently and historically, then yes it could be defined as ‘damning’.
        And again I refer to the use of the same definition applied to HFC and premises passed/coverage.

        More of the same selective and inflammatory commentary being applied by those who have an angle or agenda to push.

        • Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

          From NBN Co’s corporate plan, the definition of “premises passed”:

          “Premises are passed / covered when the shared network and service elements are installed, accepted, commissioned and ready for service which then enables an End-User to order and purchase a broadband service from their choice of retail service provider.”

          http://www.nbnco.com.au/assets/documents/nbn-co-corporate-plan-6-aug-2012.pdf (page 36)

          I note the phrase “ready for service”.

          NBN Co has clearly changed its definition here in order to fit its rollout statistics more closely to its targets.

          • bern
            Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink |

            Perhaps they need a new sub-category, for ‘premises passed but awaiting permission from the owner to install the ONT’. It would help show how progress is going in the rest of the network rollout.
            What really interests me is the number of premises in the construction pipeline. Basically, within a year we can expect a million premises to be connected. Picking up steam…

          • Tailgator
            Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |

            So NBNCo changed it’s definition of ‘premises passed’ to the industry accepted standard? Maybe that’s why they mentioned it in the presser?
            (& thanks for providing the page #)

          • Brendan
            Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

            Renai, that wasn’t just premises passed. It states Passed or Covered, emphasis mine.

            There’s also a definition in the same document, bottom of page 41, for, specifically “Premises Passed”:

            “All design, construction, commissioning and quality assurance activities in an
            FSAM have been completed for the Local network and Distribution network. ”

            Sure. Pillory them if they intentionally misquote numbers and reasons, but IMHO missing context to make a point is just as bad.

            • Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink |

              That table represents the targets they have been trying to meet — it is their benchmark. We’re comparing apples to apples here.

              • Brendan
                Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

                Notice I didn’t mention the tables. I’ve provided a direct quote of the definition. That being my point. The numbers are being questioned based on that document. The same document that has the definition.

                So yes, I *am* comparing apples to apples. Apart from circular reasoning I’m not sure where you’re going with this?

                As I said, the numbers are important. So is the definition.

                • Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink |

                  Look.

                  That table represents NBN Co’s targets. It is one table with a single set of numbers and a single definition under those numbers. They changed the targets in March this year. But they did not change the definition at that time. Premises passed has always meant:

                  “Premises are passed / covered when the shared network and service elements are installed, accepted, commissioned and ready for service which then enables an End-User to order and purchase a broadband service from their choice of retail service provider.”

                  It is there in black and white.

                  Today they made it clear that that definition in the media release no longer applies — that when a premise has been “passed”, this doesn’t mean that anyone will be able to connect to the NBN. It literally now means only when the cable has passed in the street. Because of this, they are able to count a lot of premises as being passed which they could not previously.

                  I don’t particularly care whether you agree with me or not. But those are the facts. You can argue definitions all you want, but there is only one table on that page, and only one definition under the table. If NBN Co had meant something else, then they should have said something else.

                  I must have looked at that specific page hundreds of times over the years.

                  Let’s also take the case that NBN Co is correct, and that there is an industry definition of ‘premises passed’ (a definition, I must say, I’ve never heard used in Australia).

                  How the fuck is this useful in actually judging NBN Co’s rollout progress?

                  I have said many times, and continue to say, that the only useful benchmarks in terms of NBN Co’s rollout are the number of premises passed (defined as being ready for end users to actually connect to), and the number of active connections — people who are actually using the NBN.

                  NBN Co has tried to change the way it accounts for deployment and usage several times now. And frankly I am tired of this horseshit. If they wanted a different definition they should have written it differently in their corporate plan, and I would be holding them accountable to that instead of what *is* written there.

                  How the fuck can they claim victory in 163,500 brownfields premises passed in Australia, when they haven’t fucking finished the job? When 30% of those premises can’t actually connect to the NBN?

                  I sound a bit angry. That’s because I am. I had a lot of faith in this project. That faith has been constantly and repeatedly worn away over the past several years. It is my job to hold powerful people to account in Australia for their actions. Well here’s a reality check: That’s what I’m doing. NBN Co are obfuscating the truth here, and it’s not good enough.

                  Renai

                  • Brendan
                    Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink |

                    Fair enough.

                    I was looking at the definition, in the list of definitions, in the same document. Obviously that is different to the one attached to the table in the earlier document. Two different definitions.

                    And now NBNco is using one definition (as used previously) not the other (as per the table). It’s clarified what that passed/ not passed metric is. It’s also opened the proverbial can of worms in doing so.

                    So it can’t really f*cking win, can it? If it used the former, the numbers might not match up, so it’d be abused for that. If it uses the later (which it has) then it’s just as screwed.

                    Look whilst I don’t think this is a damning indictment. I am disappointed.

                    But I am also a realist and the same sort of delays would occur under a FTTN deployment, whether people choose to accept that or not. So in the greater context of what we are actually seeing, it’s that the numbers are picking up.

                    And as long as the numbers pick up, and the rollout continues, I don’t really give a shit which statement over definition is technically correct, to be honest.

                    • Michael
                      Posted 04/07/2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

                      Brendan,

                      Either way you want the project to succeed, it is taxpayers funds already spent. The issue is that they have not met targets that they set “themselves” only THREE months ago.

                      It is not a long term projection where a lot of unexpected issues can occur and it is not right at the start of the rollout, they should know by now the speed that they can achieve, but still they over-estimate and then have to change their definitions to meet their original targets.

                      It smacks of spinning away failures.

                      • TrevorX
                        Posted 04/07/2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink |

                        “… it is taxpayers funds already spent.”

                        Oh FFS Michael shut up you stupid trolling c&#t. What don’t you understand about the way the NBN is funded? I am so sick of you throwing your hat in with the idiotic ‘tax payer funds’ nonsense every time the NBN is being discussed, only for people to correct your false statements ad nauseum.

                        Sorry for the vitriol Renai, but this continual repetition of extensively disproven falsehood is really starting to wind me up. Don’t you have some kind of policy about baseless assertions or something?

                      • Michael
                        Posted 04/07/2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink |

                        Your poor economic knowledge is plain to see.

                        Stop the swearing.

                        Learn some economics.

                        Whether it is on the budget or not, it is taxpayer funds. Especially since it has been supplied to NBN Co as EQUITY.

                        If it is equity from the government is is the property of the people of Australia. Therefore, taxpayer funds. Since it has a “commercial” IRR it does not show up on the budget.

                        What is so hard to understand?

                        But in short LEARN WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE SWEARING AND DROPPING THE C BOMB.

                      • Brendan
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink |

                        @michael

                        .. “taxpayer funds” — sorry?

                        It’s investment. With a stipulated return. It would be erroneous to suggest it’s non-returnable funding. Which is what “taxpayer funded” would suggest.

                        So do you want this to succeed, or not?

                      • Michael
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink |

                        Would the Future fund use taxpayer funds?

                        Would Australia Post use taxpayer funds?

                      • Michael
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

                        To take a different approach, it is not about its budget status. I am referring to ‘ownership’. The government has provided the initial capital for the project and therefore it is government funds.

                        If you want to get into specifics, the project is currently government funded as it does not have the revenue streams to pay for itself yet. It is projected to pay back the initial investment by the end of the 20 year period.

                        Btw I just noticed Brendan you misquoted me. I did not say taxpayer funded as you quoted.

                      • Observer
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink |

                        Michael

                        You seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to find ways of justifying your opposition to the NBN (I know you are really open minded).

                        The way you go about shows that you really appear to get stuck on the same points. However, glad to see you have given up on the 50%…. At least I hope you have. Keep up the good work.

                        Oh by the way, a knowledge of economics doesn’t necessarily gives one a better understanding. Economics is far from being an exact science.

                      • Posted 05/07/2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink |

                        Observer: Think you’ve confused Michael and Mathew.

                      • Tinman_au
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink |

                        Michael is right that it is “taxpayer”/government funds (totally different to tax dollars though) being spent as an investment that will be repaid.

                        We need to move on from these old (won) arguments…

                  • Lachlan
                    Posted 04/07/2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink |

                    Well, the definition of premises passed is at least consistent in the NBN plans when referring to other networks.

                    From the 2011 plan, available here:
                    http://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco/documents/nbn-co-3-year-gbe-corporate-plan-final-17-dec-10.pdf

                    Way down on page 42, it shows that Optus’s HFC has passed 2.4 million premises, but the footnote there states “Optus HFC does not serve MDUs and some hard to reach SDUs, hence serviceable premises is approximately 1.4 million.”
                    So the NBN co has previously acknowledged the difference between passed and serviceable premises.

                    Don’t stop the large number of SC 0 addresses being a bit of a problem, though. But given that 60% of the brownfields fibre premises have been passed in the last 3 months, and uncertainty about how accurate the GNAF data set is for the SC 0 addresses, I think this should be a bit understanding about the 55k SC 0 figure.
                    Moving forward, the NBN co should probably discloses the rate at which the SC 0 are being resolved, and being added, to see if the MDU issue is able to be managed.

                    • Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink |

                      @Michael

                      You missed the point entirely. The fact that you’re arguing something nobody has disputed makes the point. ALL government funds are from taxpayers because governments exist for the people and by the people paying tax. But it is calling them ‘taxpayer funds’ which you know full well implies it is FROM THE BUDGET (as that is what the most used meaning is) is incorrect.

                      You could simply say government funds. But you don’t. You say taxpayer funds because it is more inflammatory because it appears to imply waste. On purpose. If you lace your arguments with deliberately inflammatory comments, don’t be surprised if people get inflammed…..

                      • Michael
                        Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink |

                        Read my first post.

                        I never argued it. I just assumed it, but then Trevor got abusive. I only defended my use of it which you have confirmed.

                        Your responses are normally more accurate than that, I was trying to reply to the issue of NBN Co’s using a new definition to meet their roll out statistics.

                      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink |

                        My response was to your first point- which was that they’ve used ‘taxpayer funds’ already. Not government funds, TAXPAYER funds. Why use that expression other than to imply waste and irresponsibility, when you KNOW they are using money that isn’t from the normal budget and therefore isn’t impacting what taxpayers get value from in the budget?

                        You can argue NBNCo. aren’t doing a good enough job. Just leave the political rhetoric out of it please.

                      • Michael
                        Posted 04/07/2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink |

                        I don’t know if I agree entirely with your definition of the implications. I see funds invested in the future fund as taxpayers funds as well. But I can understand people assuming anything to do with government funds implies on budget but I have never seen any difference between different classifications of government / public / taxpayer funds referring to on or off budget before.

                        Just as a clarification, where does this line come from given what I said in the first post: “You missed the point entirely. The fact that you’re arguing something nobody has disputed makes the point. ALL government funds are from taxpayers because governments exist for the people and by the people paying tax. ”

                        I never argued it originally…

                      • Mark S
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

                        So, if NBNco don’t make a return, or worse, go bankrupt, who has lost their money because NBNco didn’t pay it back? The organisation(s) who funded and invested in NBNco, which of course is the government and only the government. Who funds the government? Tax payers. It’s delusional to pretend the money isn’t tax payer money when it has only come from one source, the Australian government.

                        Why didn’t the government instead lobby super annuation funds to pay for it, and offer any other private investors the opportunity to invest in it? Australian’s have 1.4 trillion dollars in super, so clearly the super funds could afford the $40B. The government could have underwritten the float, so that the asked for money was guaranteed to be raised. Even if only 5% of the raised funds were private, meaning the government owned 95%, that would have lowered the risk to government and therefore tax payer funds.

                        If the NBN is such a great business, why did the government have to create laws to prohibit competition to it? If the NBN is such a great business, why did the government have to 100% fund it?

                      • Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink |

                        @Mark S

                        The money for the NBN so far has actually come from the old Communications and Telecom fund, which was from the sale of Telstra…..so it hasn’t actually come from taxpayers. But yes, all government monies are ultimately from taxpayers.

                        The NBN’s likelihood of NOT making a return is slim to none. The economics of the internet mean it is almost impossible for revenue not to grow.

                        Super funds aren’t interested because it gains them 0% return for 10-12 years. What sort of super fund are you in that would consider that a good rate of return, even if they DID get 7-10% after that???

                        The government created laws to prevent competition because of what happened with the cable wars in the late 90′s. If you are happy for TAXPAYERS to piss away money while Telstra chases NBNCo. down streets to offer FTTH cheaper to keep their monopoly….I think you’re a bit of a hypocrite.

                        The NBN isn’t a great business. It’s a great utility. As a business, for commercial return, it sucks.

                      • Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

                        Mark : You just described a government bond, which is where NBNCo are getting the bulk of their funding.
                        This article explains it here.

                        Please, like everyone here, don’t go off the mouth about how the project should be funded unless you actually know how the project is funded.

                      • Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink |

                        That link not playing nice?

                        http://m.smh.com.au/business/government-goes-global-to-raise-3b-needed-for-national-network-20110710-1h91o.html

                      • Tinman_au
                        Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink |

                        Super funds can’t invest in it yet as NBNCo haven’t reached the point where they can open up private funding yet.

                  • Tinman_au
                    Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink |

                    I have said many times, and continue to say, that the only useful benchmarks in terms of NBN Co’s rollout are the number of premises passed (defined as being ready for end users to actually connect to), and the number of active connections — people who are actually using the NBN.

                    Bingo.

                    “Premises passed” is only good for roads, NBNCo should be using “Ready for Service”as their KPI.

                    • Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink |

                      @Tinman_au

                      Perhaps it is better for roads. But the “passed” definition they’ve been using is industry standard….so……

      • Sonicmerlin
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink |

        The most difficult part of building a network is laying down the fiber. That’s where all the expense and complexity if project management are concentrated. I have no idea why you’re harping over tiny details that will undoubtedly be sorted out with time.

    9. George
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

      More areas of Tasmania ready for service as of today – Including 15+ wireless towers

    10. Anthony
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

      Does this figure include the premises connected to the existing TransACT fibre network which NBNco purchased from Transact/iiNet in May?

    11. Frank
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

      How can they claim 250 000 satellite premises as passed when the satellites are not yet launched?

      Who currently can order a NBN 25mbps satellite connection?

      • Brendan
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink |

        Hardware is required at the other end to utilise satellite, and as a return, does it not? Unless you wear a tinfoil hat.

      • Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink |

        They are leasing satellite space from other providers.

    12. Deep Thinker
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink |

      WOOOHOOOO!!! YEAAA-HAAAAAAAYY!!!!!!!

      *vigorous fist pump*

      • Brendan
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |

        Hey look, I know you’re excited about fibre, but try and be a bit even-handed, yeah? Anyone would think you’re a big fan of the NBN.

        • Alex
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink |

          I’d suggest he’s either being somewhat sarcastic or daydreaming about that TA landslide…

          Perhaps both ;)

      • Observer
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 2:08 am | Permalink |

        I’d love to see your reaction if your beloved LNP loses the election.

        • jasmcd
          Posted 05/07/2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink |

          It would be at least a month locked up in a room, huddled in the corner, listening to Celine Dion and wishing for the good old Howard days whilst clutching a photo of TA in his red budgie smugglers.

          Vigorous fist pump….. very very sad it sounds more like you need the NBN to fail than it simply being just fear or doubt.

          • Deep Thinker
            Posted 05/07/2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink |

            I drove all niiiiiiigggggghhhtttttttttt…….. to geeeeeeetttttt to yooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuu…

    13. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink |

      Good to see NBNco is making progress here. We all know not getting fibre sooner is a concern else there would be no complaints but I guess it would be a bit much to expect the coalition clowns to admit NBNco did something right here. Of course it would be a good opportunity to prove they have some credibly left but Tumballs political pride won’t allow it.

    14. Muz
      Posted 04/07/2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink |

      I have done some investigation into the NBN Wireless figures today.

      Searching on the ‘Radio Frequency National Site Archive’ at http://www.rfnsa.com.au/nsa/index.cgi I found a large increase in the number of locations for NBNCo LTE2300 (the NBN Wireless) recently.

      In my region, there have been numerous new NBN Co locations appear in the past few weeks, so at least it appears they are doing some planning.

      There is now a total of 1172 NBN Co sites across Australia listed on that website.
      NOTE: This figure may include rejected towers, relay towers, constructed towers and yet to be constructed towers. I am just using these figures as a rough calculation to attempt to see how the NBN Wireless rollout is progressing across Australia.

      Unfortunately, NBN Co have never published a 3 year wireless rollout plan like they have with fibre, so we are left to speculate.

      According to the NBNCo data, there is currently 197 towers completed or under construction (taken from http://www.mynbn.info/wsam/list)

      So, in 2 years NBNCo and Ericsson have only managed to commence or complete 17% of the towers.

      Per state, the progress using my rough calculations are:
      WA: 6 towers out of 90 – 93% outstanding
      NSW: 39 towers out of 371 – 89% outstanding
      QLD: 46 towers out of 272 – 83% outstanding
      VIC: 56 towers out of 284 – 80% outstanding
      TAS: 42 towers out of 117 – 64% outstanding
      SA: 0 towers out of 24 – 100% outstanding
      ACT: 0 towers out of 4 – 100% outstanding

      NBN Wireless rollout complete by 2015 – not at the current rate!

      • Lachlan
        Posted 04/07/2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink |

        Firstly, thanks for the good information, especially about the fixed wireless site numbers.
        But beware linear extrapolations for batch processes, nothing seems to happen then everything happens at once.

        So lets see if these figures are plausible.
        By my count, there are about 75 towers activated, covering 27k premises at 30 June for about 750 premises per tower.
        Assuming all 1172 locations are for towers, and premises per tower is constant, would give about 880k out of the 1 million premises passed by wireless/satellite in the NBN plan. But real world would have decreasing tower coverage, and some dud locations, giving the 500-600k fixed coverage estimated by NBN co. So the current list could meet the coverage goals of NBN co.
        Next, implementation. Could 1100 towers be built and tested in 30 months?
        It would be about 2/ business day over the whole country, which would be technically feasible given mobile base station roll out history.
        So, based on the information you’ve given, the NBN could meet the wireless rollout 2015 deadline, but that depends on the vendor actually delivering.

        • Muz
          Posted 04/07/2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink |

          The other big question about hitting the 2015 wireless deadline is how the approvals process for new towers proceeds.
          The large batch of new proposed tower locations in my region that have recently appeared on that site are roughly 75% new towers – I haven’t taken the time to confirm whether that percentage applies across the country or not, but even at 75% new towers, there is a very considerable approvals process ahead for NBNCo to negotiate.

          Wonder if the tin foil hatters opposing the towers will still be out in as much force in regional areas if there is a change of govt later this year?

          In my kneck of the woods, I had been expecting NBN to make use of mostly existing towers, but they have chosen locations that require new towers. However, I am pleased to say I think the location of these towers provides a much better coverage than using the existing mobile phone towers.

    15. Observer
      Posted 05/07/2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink |

      It’s interesting to note that in Adelaide, there are two major projects being undertaken, the rest of southern expressway and extension of the railways line in the South.

      Both project have bipartisan support. As a results, there is virtually no coverage of the progress of both projects. Most people would have no idea when they are likely to be completed or whether they are proceeding as scheduled.

      The question to ask ourselves is would the same thing have happened had the NBN enjoyed bipartisan support. My guess is that it would have.

      • Mathew
        Posted 06/07/2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink |

        > It’s interesting to note that in Adelaide, there are two major projects being undertaken, the rest of southern expressway and extension of the railways line in the South.
        > Both project have bipartisan support. As a results, there is virtually no coverage of the progress of both projects. Most people would have no idea when they are likely to be completed or whether they are proceeding as scheduled.

        Strange … I’m pretty sure I’ve read at least one article a month on these projects, including one today talking about the fact that the train line is due to open on 14th July. Considering they are tiny projects compared to the NBN, I’d hardly say there hasn’t been any coverage.

        > The question to ask ourselves is would the same thing have happened had the NBN enjoyed bipartisan support. My guess is that it would have.

        I doubt it. Politicians would have still been lining up for photo opportunities.

      • Observer
        Posted 06/07/2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink |

        “Strange … I’m pretty sure I’ve read at least one article a month on these projects, including one today talking about the fact that the train line is due to open on 14th July.”

        Brilliant retort Matthews.

        So, on article a month and one stating when one of them will open really shows that the amount of coverage is similar.

        “Considering they are tiny projects compared to the NBN, I’d hardly say there hasn’t been any coverage.”

        It is not tiny to the people involved. The point is that they are both infrastructure projects which are important to the public concerned.

        “The question to ask ourselves is would the same thing have happened had the NBN enjoyed bipartisan support. My guess is that it would have.”

        “I doubt it. Politicians would have still been lining up for photo opportunities.”

        Is this the best you can come up with? To miss the point anymore than you have, you would have to be in a coma. I suppose the reason you trying to minimise the effect of partisanship is because you are one these people who would be telling us how great the NBN was (as long as the coalition was in favour of it).

    16. Bruce Wallace
      Posted 05/07/2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink |

      So the project is behind schedule.
      Oh, goody, lets scrap it all, because of that.
      Unbelievable, that is all the Opposition has.

      • Soth
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink |

        Aye it’s a shocking attitude.
        If we took this approach to all industries we’d still be living in straw huts with flintstone cars.

        • BladeOfTruth
          Posted 05/07/2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink |

          and if Abbott and Co were around at that time everyone else would’ve progressed to wood or brick houses and they’d(or maybe everyone) would still be in their straw huts, because wood and brick are over the top and will not be needed in the future. such is the Liberal party logic.

    17. Wire-more
      Posted 05/07/2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink |

      Main reasons for slow run rate are site acquisition / DA, & also securing backhaul from FAN-POI. In other words, there is a linkage from the wireless to the fibre rollout where fibre needs to be installed to the wireless FAN sites before it can be activated.

      re: Vendor and the money – Ericsson only gets paid when the site is turned up. Thus Ericsson is not doing too well out of the low numbers and the incentive to go fast is built into the contract

      Good news for wireless is that take up rates are very high when it becomes available !

    18. Observer
      Posted 05/07/2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

      @NightKhaos

      You’re right. Sorry. Still find the difference between taxpayers funds spent and taxpayers funded a bit tenuous.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink |

        Better way of defining it is it’s “taxpayer funding”, but not “tax dollars” (it’s raised from bonds, not general tax revenue).

      • Michael
        Posted 06/07/2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink |

        I personally feel that all the confusion comes from the government being alone in funding non-investment grade projects.

        There is no term specific to the government for investment grade or non-investment grade (other than on or off budget). Other than that it is the same as having a project that is funded through an IPO or venture capital or [inesert someones names]‘s funds.

        The implication as seven_tech raised above is that most government projects do not have a commercial return so we normally assume that they do not but there is no specific terminology to highlight those that do in finance / economics / accounting.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 07/07/2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink |

          Funding costs and period and amount of ROI and required profit margin.

          Pretty substantial factors I would consider

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 07/07/2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink |

            Australia Post is in the same basket, but no one seems to have problems with that apparently :o)

            I guess folks are just used to AP cause it’s been around so long and isn’t a “start-up” like NBNCo.

    19. Tinman_au
      Posted 05/07/2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

      Any other issues in the results which stick out to people?

      Apart from the one you mentioned Renai (wireless issues), could you ask NBNCo if they have given any more thought to FTTB for MDU’s?

      I still think it was an ideological issue previously and FTTB would still be able to deliver mostly 1Gbps if the basement node is within 100 metres of the endpoint. Maybe see what the new Minister and his assistants think?

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 07/07/2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink |

        Yes quicker and easier to provide A BROADBAND SERVICE. Stop. However it makes it difficult to provide additional services, i.e a company provided broadband service for work from home in addition to the residential service, and or a multicast video service with many services available, whereas with FTTP and multiple (3) fibres and 4 data ports there is flexibility
        Yes with 1Gb there is available bandwidth, however there are other factors especially for an employer (as differentiated from a home business, but even then tax implications ) and data volumes/cost compared with a multicast service

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 07/07/2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink |

          If MDU’s want FTTP and actively help NBNCo with instillation, then FTTP should still be the way to go.

          I know FTTB wouldn’t be the “Full Monty” compared to FTTP, but for “problem” MDU’s that either need major work, or for ones with obstructionist body corporate, I still think it’s a good solution.

    20. Koch
      Posted 13/07/2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink |

      There are people hired from offshore doing work out in the field. Now im for keeping the work in australia because the quality of work can be controlled much better compared to other since 90% of it done is poor due to the fact that the standards set for the quality of a job is poor and its happening in Victoria urban.




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