news The NBN company has attempted to cast doubt on the veracity of leaked internal documents showing that the cost of remediating Telstra’s copper network has blown out by a factor of ten times to $641 million, pointing out that the document in question was a “draft” and “not endorsed” by its executive team.
Under Labor’s previous near-universal Fibre to the Premises model for the NBN, the HFC cable and copper networks owned by Telstra and Optus would have been shut down. However, the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix plan instituted by Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister in the Abbott administration is seeing them acquired and upgraded by the NBN company.
The NBN company and the Government have consistently attempted to block the release of information detailing how much it will cost the NBN company on a per node basis to deploy the Coalition’s preferred Fibre to the Node technology on Telstra’s copper network, as well as information pertaining to how much the remediation of Telstra’s copper network will cost.
However, internal documents released by the Opposition today showed that, by the NBN company’s own estimates, the cost of remediating Telstra’s network had blown out by a factor of ten, to about $641 million, with the cost of rolling out infrastructure to each premise via Fibre to the Node had blown out from $600 to about $1600 per premise.
In a statement issued in the wake of the document’s released by the Opposition, the NBN company attempted to pour cold water on the veracity of the document.
“The document is a draft document from March has not been endorsed by the executive,” the company said.
The approach somewhat mimics a similar NBN company reaction to previous revelations involving internal NBN documents regarding the HFC cable network owned by Optus. At the time, the NBN company claimed the documents were only a “hypothetical exercise”.
The NBN company also made a number of other statements regarding the FTTN revelations today.
“Based on our experience in the field, which for FTTN now extends to more than 550,000 homes in construction and more than 40,000 homes ready for service, our cost per premises for FTTN as outlined in the Corporate Plan in August is proving accurate,” the company said.
“Any costs related to the FTTN network are accounted for in the corporate plan released in August, which included the increase in peak funding.”
The company noted that it had launched its commercial FTTN product on 21 September this year.
“As released in August this year and discussed at length, NBN now has the most comprehensive plan built from a true history of actuals and experience in building the network at scale,” the company said.
” Risks and mitigation plans for the network are outlined in the Corporate Plan, and the revised peak funding figure takes these scenarios into account. We have produced a peak funding range and provided a contingency, as prudent measures to manage a project of this size and complexity.”
Image credit: NBN company