NBN target easier to beat than we expected: Switkowski

NBN target easier to beat than we expected: Switkowski

Summary: NBN Co executive chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski has admitted that NBN Co's low target for existing premises passed by fibre at the end of June this year is likely to be easily beaten.


NBN Co will likely pass its target for 357,000 existing premises passed by fibre as of June 30, 2014, executive chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski has admitted.

The target was revised down from 450,000 to 357,000 premises to be passed by the fibre network in NBN Co's strategic review released in December, and the company blamed the Christmas shutdown period for the reason why NBN Co believed it would not be able to achieve its previous target.

An analysis by ZDNet in January showed that NBN Co was easily on target to beating the goal, given the company's run rate has been, on average, 4,500 premises passed per week. NBN Co's chief operations officer Greg Adcock said on Friday that the company's run rate would be around 6,000 premises per week by the end of June this year, meaning the company would more than easily surpass its target on that date.

In response to a question from former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in a Senate Estimates hearing today, Switkowski said it is entirely possible that NBN Co could exceed 400,000 premises passed at the end of June this year.

"Your algebra is certainly right," he said.

He said that at the time of the strategic review, NBN Co had not yet sorted out its construction production line, and that the target set then was based on historical data of NBN Co's performance to date.

"At the time [it] looked consistent with what we might be able to deliver if we straightened out the whole production line," he said.

But Switkowski said that 357,000 premises passed is "still not an acceptable number; it is too low".

"It's not going faster than we were tracking indeed before the strategic review, and before the change of government," he said.

He said that the improvement in the run rate should not be an indication that the rollout has become easier for the company.

Switkowski also contradicted previous statements from NBN Co over the inclusion of premises on the TransACT fibre network, which have begun to be integrated into the NBN. The company previously indicated that these premises would be included in the 357,000 premises passed figure, but Switkowski said that the 7,800 premises due to be added before the end of June would be on top of that figure, and would be highlighted by the company.

"We will flag any additional customers that have been included, because they have been acquired in that way. Just to be transparent," he said.

Rain not a factor in broadband quality report

Earlier in the morning, the Department of Communications also faced a grilling from Conroy over its broadband quality tracker website MyBroadband. The report gathered data from approximately 20,000 data points across Australia to determine the median broadband speeds in those areas. The average speed determined did not take into account factors such as weather, which can greatly affect the speed of a service on the copper network, department assistant secretary for the broadband quality project Jo Grainger confirmed.

"Rain was not an element that we considered as part of our analysis," she said.

Department secretary Drew Clarke said that the report was explicit in stating that factors such as weather were not taken into account as part of the report.

"The median DSL speeds are based on some empirical data, so real world data of experiences of real broadband ADSL," Grainger added.

"We don't have information about when that was tested; by my understanding is that it was raw data that a carrier has provided, so it is likely that those tests were done at day, at night, at various locations across Australia."

Conroy said that the tests came as some parts of Australia were being declared drought affected, and, as such, the copper network would have been unaffected by rain at the time of testing.

The government is working to release the raw data on data.gov.au.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, 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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  • Instead of going on about fibre premises numbers after dropping the majority from the FttP footprint Ziggy really should be telling us how that FttN patchwork part is coming along, that is after all what most will have to tolerate after the coalition clowns and GimpCo make a mess of it. Only 1039 days to go guys!
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • No, Hubert, we don't want to know how the fraudband patchwork is coming along. The only relevant information would be how the new all-singing, all-dancing NBNCo is going to make the changes in policy to be able to deliver FTTP as planned to 93 percent of end users.

    Unless they have been told to stick to the HMV script they have been given from above, of course.
  • oh ziggy,ziggy,ziggy

    If you don't know the difference between algebra and arithmetic how can we have faith in any of your statements???
  • NBN Progress???

    I should not be complaining as I am one of the lucky ones to actually be getting ftth but, the fibre was run past my house almost 6-months ago yet no one can give me a time frame when it will actually be connected to my house.

    All this fuss about passing premises is in reality just a diversion from the real point of this project and that is providing hi speed internet to the Australian people and thus far, I see no proof that people are being connected to exchanges. Maybe Turnbull will have it pulled out and reverted to fttn before I can have it connected to my house!
    Kit Walker
  • Just another thing wrong

    This just goes to show 'NBN Co's strategic review' was not a review done with any rigor what so ever. Not surprising considering it was hatched to cover the ideology and not actually done in a neutral, independant, manor.
  • Quality Report BS

    Even in dry weather we still don't get more than a tiny fraction of their myBroadband site states. We would love to achieve the stated 7.3Mbps claimed for our area instead of our usual sub 0.7Mbps. (perhaps they forgot to include the zero plus decimal point?)