Clean up job stops NBN rollout stats showing the full picture

Clean up job stops NBN rollout stats showing the full picture

Summary: NBN Co's weekly rollout statistics do not reflect the number of premises that are verging on being ready to connect to the network, with NBN Co withholding some areas from being added to the list while additional construction work is being completed.

TOPICS: NBN, Australia

A new document sent to retail service providers and obtained by ZDNet reveals NBN Co is holding back from adding 11 fibre areas where construction is nearing completion to its "premises passed" total, until more customers in those areas have lead-ins installed and can order a service on the NBN.

The change comes as part of NBN Co's year-long "clean up job" to reduce the number of premises counted in the weekly tally as being "passed" by the fibre network, but unable to order a service.

These premises are counted as being in service class zero, or service class one, where the fibre passes the premises but additional construction work, or fibre needs to be laid before the people in the premises are in a position to order a service from their retail service provider.

Across Australia, according to its statistics, NBN Co has passed 21,604 existing premises since June 30, leading to complaints that the network construction has slowed considerably since NBN Co reached its June target, and claims NBN Co will struggle to meet its target to get over 1 million premises covered by the NBN at the end of June 2015.

According to NBN Co's rollout statistics, as of Sunday, NBN Co has only passed an additional 175 existing premises in Tasmania with fibre since June this year.

But in a document issued to retailers last week, NBN Co explained that it was currently withholding a whole six fibre serving areas in Tasmania from being released, and thus being counted in NBN Co's weekly statistics, because NBN Co did not have the resources on the ground to field the number of orders in Tasmania for services on the NBN.

"Demand for NBN Co services in Tasmania is currently under greater than the available NBN Co activations resourcing capacity, which has caused long lead-times for end-users to get an installation appointment. Six FSAMs are approaching RFS [ready for service] in Tasmania, and NBN Co has taken the decision to phase the release of these FSAMs so that lead-times for end-user orders are not extended further," NBN Co said.

The company will also appoint a second contractor to work along side Visionstream, with installation teams are being sourced to alleviate the backlog.

Since April this year, NBN Co has not been declaring an FSAM as "ready for service" to allow retailers to start taking orders until 90 percent of premises are able to order a service on the NBN. This has led some to declare that the roll-out of the NBN is progressing slower than anticipated according to the weekly rollout stats; a claim NBN Co denies.

It is understood that around 40 percent of the work is underway or completed to the 190,000 premises in Tasmania, and a total of 38,491 premises have been passed.

NBN Co said in the letter to service providers that there are another five FSAMs on mainland Australia that it is withholding from release to retailers until the service class zero count is lowered.

NBN Co has been working to reduce this figure across the board for the past few months dropping by 6,226 premises between June and the end of August. In Tasmania alone, it has dropped by 837 premises since June 1.

From October, in addition to the 90 percent passed hurdle before FSAMs are considered ready for service, NBN Co will also require between 30 and 50 percent of premises to be at service class two, that is, with the lead in fibre and a box on the side of a premises installed and ready to order a service, before being released.

At the company's annual results last week, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said that it would take a year for NBN Co to work to reduce the number of service class zero and service class one premises on the network.

"It's going to take a year to be able to do clean up and get the contracts to where we're rolling down the neighbourhoods in a smooth fashion, so this pain point is going to be with us for a little while," he said.

Ensuring that each premises had a lead-in cable from the footpath to the side of the premises was the cause of a low customer satisfaction rating for NBN Co in the fibre areas, he said.

"That lead-in, when we look at the installations of the past, has only been there for 11 percent of the premises that we've declared 'ready for the service'. So if you think about that, 90 percent of all of the installs that we're trying to do require a construction crew, our delivery partners, to go back to these homes.

"And when they go back there they're identifying civil work issues that they need to do, or remediation issues that require everything from trenching to flushing out pits, they're even clearing the roots of large trees that are in the way to make these lead ins work effectively.

"Now that amount of work is much greater than anybody had thought. The amount of time that one needs to spend at a given home is much greater than anyone thought. And that, therefore, has led to long delays in the installation … amounting to weeks, and even months in some cases before customers can get their service turned on."

Topics: NBN, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Advantage 'every other country but Australia'...

    You must ask yourself Josh, will Australia be a country worth reporting on in terms of their tech industry? I for one have come to terms with this train wreck.. I'm moving to New Zealand. A nice peaceful country with a lower tax rate and a state of the art communications network, win win... Tony Abbott has nothing on whatever their prime ministers name is...
    • Agree NZ looks good

      They don't go grandstanding on the world stage either trying to make themselves look good. Apparently Abbott has flown overseas more than Rudd did and he was criticised by Abbott for being OS too much. The NBN was the only truly forward looking policy from either side of politics for at least 25 years IMO. It was ruined by a party putting ideological nonsense above what is goo for the country.

      For the naysayers, please don't tell me you don't want to pay for other peoples internet connections. If that is how you look at the issue it shows you have a very narrow view of what the NBN would have done for the country. I can remember when we were not internet banking and phone banking was all the rage. I can remember times when a lot of what we do now was tedious and slow, required queuing up to pay. The NBN was never about movie downloads.

      For a party big on people working etc and building their own wealth, not providing the NBN means all the startup companies that might have started here probably won't start here. The NBN would have help mothers more than the PPL by allowing mothers to spend more time working from home and not just 6 months at home. Yes you can do this now, but it depends on so many factors as to how well it works. The NBN would have taken the doubt out of network connection issues. No longer would it be if my internet connection is good enough, it would be do I need this service. If so how much will it cost. I think if you had a referendum style question at the last election "Do you support the NBN as it is currently being built?", a majority would have said yes, and many of the people saying no would have been purely about cost or time to build it. Both of which could have been addressed in a much better way than the coalition are doing now.
      Justin Watson
  • Australia - safe and steady

    Australia really is becoming a basket case. We are horribly over-governed and over-regulated especially considering the size of our population. Our job market is crap unless you want to be in the service industry. We're one of the highest taxed nations on the planet (to pay for our government). We have a government that might as well be listed as a communist government since they want to control everything we do on the internet. And no one really cares.
    • Population v Government

      That rings a bell. I'm sure I read somewhere that New York has a population count not too different from Australia - and the place is run by a Mayor and a Council.
      Dr. Ghostly
    • Ummm.. dody statisitcs?

      Sorry, but our tax rate is most definitely NOT "one of the highest in the world".

      We're no. 23 in the world based on max individual tax. 22 based on corporate tax. So far down the list on GST that I can't be bothered counting that far...

      As for being 'over governed'. Would you like to point to somewhere you can use an an example of how it should be? IE. Personal freedom. Low tax. Minimal government.

      Because as far as I know, such a place does not exist.
  • The full picture

    "Clean up job stops NBN rollout stats showing the full picture"

    The "full picture" is obvious, they are falling woefully behind...
  • The inconvenient truth

    After years of bluster and rhetoric, we are now seeing the true state of on-the-ground roll-out.
    While I like the idea of the universal FTTP, the logic of MT's FTTN for some areas appears attractive as a short-term fix in these areas.
    It's unclear what is wrong with the existing copper lead-in, but having to provide new lead-ins to properties is going to be hugely expensive and time consuming.
  • How the new deal with Telstra be the same?

    If these extra works were not 'foreseen' by anyone previously, surely the government should account for this in the new deal with Telstra? But according to Telstra the new deal will yield a similar windfall. Why should Telstra receive the same amount of tax payers money for, what we know now is unserviceable infrastructure?
  • A Complete Mess

    The whole NBN rollout has been a complete mess. I haven't been following the NBN for the past few months but everything has been a disaster. Not to mention the whole concept of what MT wants to rollout I think is a poor technology and vastly inferior to what we could of had had we had a full FTTP rollout which is very unlikely to happen at this point. I guess Australia is just destined to be well behind the rest of the world when it comes to the internet which for whatever reason I like to think pleases the current government.
  • The current government's Motive:

    Protect Telstra/Foxtel's revenue stream in order to retain Murdoch's support & propaganda to keep them in power.
  • Funny, that.

    The difference between "major inaccuracies in reporting" and "minor statistical errors" depends on whether it is Labor or Liberal in charge.