NBN Co hits 3-month delay: June fibre forecast down by up to 150K

NBN Co hits 3-month delay: June fibre forecast down by up to 150K

Summary: NBN Co has blamed construction partners not meeting targets for the need to revise down the June target for the number of premises passed by fibre from 341,000 to between 190,000 and 220,000.


The company tasked with rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has blamed a construction worker shortage for delaying the construction of the fibre network by up to 150,000 premises.

NBN Co said that instead of passing 341,000 premises — 286,000 brownfields premises and 55,000 greenfields premises — with fibre by the end of June this year, NBN Co will only pass between 190,000 and 220,000 overall.

This is broken down to between 155,000 and 175,000 brownfields and between 35,000 and 45,000 greenfields premises.

It had been widely expected that NBN Co would revise down its June forecast. Following ongoing issues with Syntheo, figures published by NBN retailer Devoted NBN revealed that NBN Co had only passed just over 1,400 brownfields premises in the first 10 weeks of this year.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley blamed the delays on the construction partners not recruiting "boots on the ground" as quickly as required.

"Construction partners have not be mobilising boots on the ground at a fast enough rate to meet their own forecasts," he said.

"These construction problems are a short-term issue, and will not affect the long-term delivery of the NBN or the cost of the project. I want to be very clear NBN is taking accountability. As the CEO, I am committed to recovering from the delay."

Quigley said that NBN Co was ultimately responsible for the three-month delay in the project, and that the company will take action to ensure the rollout gets back on track. The measures include taking control of the Northern Territory rollout from Syntheo; 80 new roving fibre splicers, who will travel across the country to work in areas where there have been delays; and construction companies hiring more workers sooner than originally planned in order to ramp up the construction much quicker.

Quigley said that the move into the NT would only be a temporary measure, and NBN Co would not seek to construct the entire network on its own.

"You shouldn't read into this that NBN Co is becoming a construction company."

Quigley denied that the announcement was scheduled at the same time as the federal government leadership turmoil in order to minimise damage for the company. He said NBN Co's board met this morning, and had to agree to the revised forecast in advance of it going public.

He said that as the NBN is in an early stage of its rollout, the delays would not have any meaningful impact on the revenues for the company, or the date of completion of the NBN in 2021.

"We're not even changing the peak rate. All we're doing is holding that rate longer," he said.

Too much information?

The company denied claims that it was holding information from the public that it was offering retail service providers such as Devoted NBN.

"Claims we're being secretive and not providing information about [the rollout] are just nonsense," Quigley said.

After the conference call with journalists, Quigley told ZDNet that all the information was available through NBN Co's website but it was just raw data.

"The information we make available to retail service providers is available to anyone on our website. It is in a huge amount of detail," he said. "You need to spend quite some time analysing it if you are trying to draw conclusions from it, which is why we are drawing quarterly summaries."

He said that NBN Co was torn between providing more contextualised information that would take up more of the company's time, or having the raw data misinterpreted.

"The issue we've got, is we're providing so much information and people are just using it and making mistakes," he said.

"We're going to have to decide whether we're just providing so much information that it is simply confusing people."

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this afternoon said that NBN Co was attempting to avoid scrutiny in announcing the writedown when it did, and said that NBN Co should have its forecasts submitted for independent analysis.

Topic: NBN


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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  • Rome wasn't built in a day

    Disappointing news, but understandable, given the complexity and scale of the build. I think the more sensible option is to build it once and build it properly and if that means waiting longer, then so be it.

    I have no doubt that the timing of this announcement was politically motivated but political 'management' of the 24 hour news cycle is hardly restricted to one party over the others, so it's a moot point. What *is* bizarre is Malc's latest verbal outpourings:

    "Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this afternoon said that NBN Co should have its forecasts submitted for independent analysis."

    The forecasts are freely available. Go and 'analyse' them as much as you like. In fact, I'm pretty sure this ZDnet article I'm commenting in is (independently) doing exactly that.

    Anyways, gasbagging politicians aside, our favorite anti-NBN crusaders need to figure out how angry they are planning on being because they're not getting something they don't want fast enough, or if they should be angry at the private sector for not being able to deliver telecoms infrastructure as per a contract. What will it be? More at 11...
    • "Anyways, gasbagging politicians aside, our favorite anti-NBN crusaders need to figure out how angry they are planning on being because they're not getting something they don't want fast enough, or if they should be angry at the private sector for not being able to deliver telecoms infrastructure as per a contract. What will it be? More at 11..."

      Quoted for the best comment this article will ever get.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Interesting HC....

        Al the old naysayers have disappeared and look there's a whole new batch to take their places *rolls eyes*
  • agreed that the

    network should be built correctly. However the roll out is a project and NBN Co have consistently missed committed milestones. Something must be wrong at HQ .
    Knowledge Expert
    • And that is the problem

      No matter what Labor does, they screw it up. That has always been my concern about the NBN. This government has failed to deliver on even small projects and so how can it be trusted to deliver on such a major project? Labor has proven time and again that it has a reverse Midas touch. Look at rather "simple" projects such as FuelWatch and GroceryWatch, both of which were abysmal failures. The list ofLabor failures is long and touches almost every Ministry. That is not to say that some of their ideas were bad. It is just that this government has an abhorrent inability to successfully deliver any project or initiative . . . and we, the taxpayers, get to pay for it!
      • RE: And that is the problem

        I don't see any Labor politians employed by NBN Co, do you?
      • Failed to Deliver

        The Personal Property Security Register
        Pulling together over 500 registers and databases from all States and Territories, each State had their own methodology and systems. The legislation passed Federally and in all States in 2009, PPSR up and running Feb 2012. Brilliant. Covers everything from farm machinery to yachts that is moveable and that can be financed
        Actually the result of years of research by the AAA and member organisations. Set up and a Federal Govt program at a cost of $17Mill over 5 years.
        Free traing course for all instructors prepared to apply for accreditation @$1,500. One free lesson to all learner drivers that register - compulsory for parents/supervisors to attend. 3 Games designed to develop skillsets that will make for safer drivers.
        The main section is for the supervising drivers, they will be in the hotseat and the main trainers for the learner.
        The objective to produce new drivers that are equipped and prepared to be responsible and safe solo drivers rather than learn those skills on their own the hard way at great cost.
        Excellent and very successfull - Guess as it is about saving lives the media has made sure we know about it, haven't they.?

        Just Two examples of very many, obviously the media has told you about them too
        Abel Adamski
        • Cool, but…

          Those are all initiatives that the government is sponsoring but has very little role in the delivery of. What is the actual success of the programs?

          Conroy is up to his ears in the NBN, any major failure (including the failed cabling tender) goes directly to him.
          Fred Fredrickson
      • Interesting...

        Coming from someone who HAS the NBN *sigh*

        BTW - just to go back 14 steps, us taxpayers aren't paying for it, please pay attention.
  • That is the problem

    Wakie that's the problem!,its another screw up by Labor,the NBN delays and stuff ups are one of many!!!,look at today's Leadership Fiasco to see it.Are you blind?
    • Leadership Fiasco ???

      A complete construct and FUD campaign by the Media and Abbot.
      Shown to be all B.S by the actual result.
      Like Quigley offering to effectively redo the analysis of the options, hilarious to watch the Coalition and anti GBE FTTP NBN parrots avoid it like the plague doing a big cover of the fact of the fear of validation of the current plan and exposure of the inadequacy and in fact foolishness over the long term of their options.
      What we get is what we will have for 50 years so it better be fit for the task, any piecemeal upgrades will be horrendously expensive
      Abel Adamski
      • Re: Leadership fiasco

        Sorry about the heading, I reckon the poli that resigned today might have been hired by the LNP to cause the whole shmozile. I forgot his name, he was on channel 9 in the morning news. He claimed to be a Rudd supporter as was Simon Crean. I wonder if Simon will resign too now.
        • Guts

          Those that are prepared to be run by and be puppets to media moguls and vested interests do not do our Nation justice, better gone even if they have great skills.

          Either that or our soldiers died for nothing fighting for Democracy which depends on an informed vote. not a misled and deceived vote
          Abel Adamski
          • Hahahahaha

            You are funny
            Kunal Nanda
          • Wow

            Your reasoning is improving...

            One of your more intelligent responses ;)
    • Labor stuffup

      You say Labor has stuffed up? where is kevin Rudd digging a trench today? You make me laugh, blaming Labor for a something that has been contracted out by the NBN...so your saying the company with the contact isn't at fault? its all because of Labor? So next time you make a stuff up we shall blame your mother or father?
      • analogy stuff up

        That's an idiotic analogy.

        So if I run a business and you run an IT company, I ask you to rebuild my server, pay you money, you then contract it to your mate who loses all my data - you're home free?

        Labor and the NBN can do no wrong in some peoples eyes. The last few days of circusry and you still have confidence in it.

        Mind boggling.
        • logic stuff up

          But Labor aren't a business. They haven't contracted out anything. They created NBN Co and told them what the objective was, just like your parents created you. Labor do not run NBN Co, why is that hard for Liberal voters to understand?
          • Yep thats logic

            I know, its comprehension and Logic. Something 'Liberal Voters' will just never achieve Karl.

            Crikey, NBN Co were created by Labor, yet not responsible. The mind flip flops and somersaults.
          • logic success!

            Your parents may be responsible for you, but that doesn't mean everything that goes wrong in your life is their fault. Ditto Labor. The analogy is actually brilliant.

            Regardless of analogies, Labor are not to blame for a shortage of fibre splicers. Are they to blame for NBN Co not allowing for that and setting their projections too high? No, because NBN Co are the one who make the projections. Hell we aren't even sure how much of the blame lays with the contractors and how much with NBN Co, because it's the contractors who signed the contract and said "yeah we can do this much work". Your attempts to pass the blame up the chain to Labor who have no say in the matter is driven only by your political bias, just like that other person who tries the same trick, the Earl of Wentworth.