NBN contractors: No problem with rollout speed


blog If you believe much of the criticism levelled at the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, the rollout is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Or, to quote Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull more precisely, at the pace of “an arthritic snail”. However, a lengthy article published by the ABC last week (we recommend you click here for the full article) appears to blow claims of slow rollout speeds out of the water, with NBN Co’s contractors telling Aunty that getting the deployment done on time would be no problem. The ABC reports:

“The contractors foresee no problem hitting 6000 connections per day from early next year which would mean NBN Co’s plans are running on schedule … Tony Cotter, MD and CTO for SPATIALinfo pointed out that the rollout was not unprecedented and that when Telstra and Optus rolled out their HFC networks, they were hitting 5000 per day while in the US the ‘Verizon – FiOS’ roll-out was hitting 5000 to 6000 connections per day.”

I thought it was important to link to this article as I had no less than a dozen readers forward it to me over late last week and the weekend. If accurate, it does seem to blow a lot of the doubts about the NBN rollout out of the water; turning the project’s deployment from a case of ‘extraordinary’ into ordinary. If this kind of rollout speed is pretty normal for similar broadband networks that have been deployed in Australia and internationally, it provides a lot more surety that NBN Co can meet its targets.


  1. So, the Libs have been caught out hysterically talking things down….yet again…

    This “Were the only ones that can do anything, so we’ll just say no to everything else” strategy they seem to be going for will only hurt them at the polls in the long run, no Aussie likes a tall poppy…

  2. I think what was telling in the whole article was the comment about none of them willing to go “on record” about how much (or lack of) a cost difference there would be with FTTN, the condition of the copper they were finding as they rolled in fibre, and how may of them actually believed FTTN would be significantly more complex due to the requirements of having to “install a fridge sized cabinet” and “get power to it” as the moved along the deployment path.

    They also mention just how efficient they are becoming at rolling out fibre as they learn new productivity gains and avoid productivity losses from earlier stages of the project.

    • They are probably afraid of being discriminated against if there is a change of government. Given comments made by MT about any one who opens their mouth to support FTTH I don’t blame them.

  3. What was most interesting was the anecdotal claim that switching from FTTH to FTTN at this point would actually delay the rollout and actually increase the cost.

    On the surface the claim does makes sense when you consider all the things they say need to be done to add cabinets into the equation.

    • I’d call information provided by contractors who are rolling out the network more than “anecdotal”. Anecdotal claims usually fit into the realm of personal experience of a small subset of people “I get 20Mb on ADSL2, it’s plenty fast enough and there is nothing wrong with my phoneline therefore we don’t need the NBN” Talking to experienced network contractors who are installing the network, here, in Australia, who have seen the copper, who are putting in the fibre, that is far more than anecdotal.

  4. Pay attention Malcolm! Your plans are out of date, out of touch and rely on obsolete technologies!

    Get a Clue and support the NBN Proper!

    • All of us here know that, and most people are happy to say it as loudly and often as necessary.

      So it’s interesting that Turnbull is quick to deride any NBN-positive comment by attacking the people involved as tech-head fanbois who are only motivated by self-interest, etc. This suggests that he thinks the general public are so ignorant that they will believe his anti-NBN rhetoric if he repeats it often enough.

      FWIW, my bet is that by the next election in twelve months time, there will be enough satisfied customers on the NBN for most voters to have a good idea of its value. Mr Turnbull may fancy his own cleverly creative phrasing, but the tide is starting to run strongly against his present course.

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