Aussie focus as NBN Co awards $635m in deals

news The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) yesterday announced that it had awarded contracts worth up to $635 million over the next five years to six companies with a robust local presence. These companies supply a range of equipment for standard installation by NBN Co and its agents when residents and businesses choose a service from their retail ISP.

NBN Co reckons that up to $150 million worth of the total in-premises equipment will be locally manufactured. Additionally, the suppliers’ Australian operations will generate local employment.

According to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley (seen in picture with a Warren & Brown executive believed to be MD Neil Domelow), NBN has strived to source equipment domestically to as large an extent as possible. “However,” he added, “we needed to balance costs against the preference for Australian-made to arrive at a cost-effective result.”

Two Aussie-owned and operated entities, namely Madison Technologies and Warren & Brown figure among the six successful companies. Madison Technologies provides industrial communications products and engineering solutions, while Warren & Brown manufactures and supplies optic fibre termination, distribution, and management products and services to telecommunications companies. Three of the companies – TE Connectivity, Corning Cable Systems and 3M – are international concerns with a strong Australian presence. The sixth firm is a partnership between US company OFS and private Australian company Optimal.

The parts supplied include internal cables, wall outlets, patch leads, internal fibre distribution hubs for offices and apartment blocks, and apparatus accommodating the connection of the fibre from the street to the exterior of the premises.

NBN Co has only recently revealed its 12-month rollout schedule, with construction beginning in regions with over half a million premises. “We have sourced a range of equipment to form a catalogue of consistent, quality components that our installation contractors can use to suit different housing and commercial building types,” said Quigley.

Most of the equipment supply preparations initially required for the rollout are in place. Quigley explained that NBN Co plans to go to the market when the rollout ramps up to source further suppliers for an array of equipment requirements.

It’s not the first time NBN Co has placed a focus on Australian companies when looking to fulfil its rollout requirements for its network. In January this year the company announced deals worth a total of $1.6 billion with local supplier Warren & Brown, as well as Prysmian and Corning, which both maintain a strong Australian presence.

“We are pleased to award this contract to a local quality manufacturer of fibre-optic equipment which has a long tradition in precision manufacture,” said Quigley at the time of Warren & Brown. “One of the benefits of local manufacture is the ability of Warren & Brown to fill orders within short timeframes to meet the rollout requirements of NBN Co, which is currently in the process of building the network in its five first release sites.”

Image credit: NBN Co