blog Just how far out ahead is NBN Co able to predict the progress of its network rollout? Quite far, according to the Financial Review newspaper, which this morning published a front page article claiming it had seen internal projections that already stated NBN Co would miss its June 2014 rollout targets. The newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Leaked internal forecasts seen by The Australian Financial Review indicate NBN Co now expects to have 855,935 existing homes and businesses ready to connect to the fibre network by June 2014. This is 273,065 fewer than the company forecast it would reach in the latest corporate plan, released in August last year.”
Asked about the issue, a NBN Co spokesperson told Delimiter:
“We don’t recognise the number. But we’ve never shied away from the fact there are challenges inherent in any major infrastructure project, not least one of the scale and complexity of the NBN. Issues such as the insufficient mobilisation of some contractors have been flagged for a long time.
As we said in March, we expect to recover this delay incrementally. If contractors don’t perform we will change them. If other issues arise, such as Telstra’s remediation halt, we will take action address them too. We remain confident the build will be completed by 2021 “
From your writer’s perspective, it seems a little futile trying to predict the progress of the NBN rollout a year out. The situation with the rollout at the moment appears to be continually in flux, with some contractors such as Syntheo quitting the NBN rollout altogether, but others such as Downer EDI stepping up. It may be that while some contractors are slower to deliver on their NBN obligations than expected, others will be able to get the work done more quickly than expected. It particularly seems likely that contractors such as SA Power Networks in South Australia, which have large existing workforces capable with infrastructure work, will be able to get up to speed with the NBN quickly.
You also have to wonder at the AFR’s motivations in publishing this kind of story, especially, running as it did, on the AFR’s front page. The article’s authors, David Ramli and James Hutchinson, have broken some major NBN stories recently and are generally very ethical journalists. But is there really a point to running a story in August 2013 about NBN Co not meeting its June 2014 targets? Or is there some motivation to this report which is related to the Federal Election campaign? It’s hard to know for sure; and perhaps that’s much of the problem with Australia’s media landscape at the moment. It’s getting increasingly hard to know what or who to believe.
Image credit: NBN Co