Prepare for policy change: Committee to NBN Co

Prepare for policy change: Committee to NBN Co

Summary: The committee investigating the NBN rollout has told NBN Co to prepare to minimise risk should there be a change in policy after the September Australian election.

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TOPICS: NBN
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In the final report of the joint parliamentary committee investigating the National Broadband Network (NBN), the committee has recommended that NBN Co prepare for a change of policy.

Committee chair Rob Oakeshott today tabled the final report of the committee ahead of the September federal election, stating that with the release of the Coalition's NBN alternative policy, Australians would now get some form of the NBN.

"For all the challenges of the largest infrastructure build in our nation's history, as well as the policy risks to manage at the September 2013 election, Australians can now be confident the NBN will be completed in some form," he said.

"I have personally done what I can to see the NBN completed to the best standard possible. I invite the 44th parliament and its NBN oversight committee to commit to doing likewise."

To that end, the top recommendation of the committee report said that NBN Co should update its corporate plan to "prepare strategies to minimise risk in any policy changes that may reasonably be expected to occur in the 2012-2015 period".

Under the Coalition, the fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) part of the NBN for 93 percent of the population would be scaled back to a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) policy for 71 percent of premises, with 22 percent to continue to get fibre to the premises.

The Coalition would likely roll out fibre to the basement of apartment complexes, as the party believes this will be substantially more cost effective than replacing in-building copper wiring with fibre. NBN Co undertook a study into this option itself prior to the release of its 2012 corporate plan; however, the company refused to release the document when ZDNet sought its release under Freedom of Information.

Among the other recommendations of the report, the committee has asked for more information on the rollout of the fibre network in regional Australia, for NBN Co to closely monitor whether its interim satellite service reaches capacity, and to ensure that alternative arrangements are made if that occurs. The committee has also suggested that the government keep considering whether private investors can be brought in to fund the NBN.

The final recommendation of the report targets the ongoing delays in the construction of the network due to issues with NBN Co's contractors. The committee has recommended that NBN Co work with contractors to ensure sufficient mobilisation of the construction workforce, and look to use local recruitment firms for construction efforts.

Coalition calls for NBN Co headcount reduction

As would be expected three months out from an election, the committee remained divided for its final report, with the Coalition MPs releasing their own dissenting report.

The Coalition members noted that NBN Co's headcount from June 2012 to February 2013 had risen by nearly 50 percent from 1,674 to 2,477 full-time staff members, with staff costs for the year to the end of May 2013 at AU$295 million.

There was also significant turnover in the company, with six of the nine key management personnel leaving since 2011, 14 senior executives and 55 executive-level staffers leaving since October 2009, and five of the original nine members of NBN Co's board stepping down.

As an indication for what the Coalition would intend to do in government, the Coalition has called for NBN Co to reduce indirect operating expenditure overheads by 20 percent over the next two years.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also questioned the relationship between new NBN Co chair Siobhan McKenna and NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley. Turnbull has asked for the government to confirm that the pair will remain in their positions after the election, amid speculation that McKenna has been testing support with other NBN Co board members to terminate Quigley's employment with the company.

The Coalition also called for NBN Co to conduct a rigorous analysis of alternative options to the fibre-to-the-premises model, including fibre to the node and hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) upgrades. The party also recommended that NBN Co bring in the private sector to get through the backlog of new housing estates much faster than is currently being achieved.

Topic: NBN

About

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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Talkback

38 comments
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  • Woo hoo

    "The party also recommended that NBN Co bring in the private sector to get through the backlog of new housing estates much faster than is currently being achieved."

    Looks like our cable laying, 24/7 NBN hating friends (ahem) may, surprise, surprise, get a nice juicy MT sanctioned contract...

    Yay for them... their selling out of Aussies in the name of ideology and of course, their own wallets has almost reached fruition...

    *shakes head*
    RS-ef540
    • Look on the bright side RS at least we'll have three very entertaining years of the coalition clowns making excuses for their fraudband network;-)
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • We might even get something

        Keep cheering fanboys; NBNCo has at least been instructed to grow up.

        Personally I can't wait for the post sept audit and the massive waste of taxpayers money finally exposed.
        Richard Flude
        • "Personally I can't wait for the post sept audit and the massive waste of taxpayers money finally exposed."

          September 2016 coalition clown massive waste of taxpayers money confirmed;-)
          Hubert Cumberdale
  • Sig Heil Rupert

    You and your Quislings and destructive media and puppet political parties have won.
    Now you will be accountable and responsible for the consequences.
    If Rudd makes a play it can only be seen to be as just another Murdoch Puppet.
    Vote independant.

    Welcome to the flip side
    Abel Adamski
    • Of course they should be held accountable

      Billions of taxpayers money on the line.

      Strangely missing was any such calls for accountability from BS, HC or yourself over the past 6 years as failure after failure leaked to abuse; preferring some imagined conspiracy.
      Richard Flude
      • "Billions of taxpayers money on the line"

        Indeed. Which is why I do not endorse wasting taxpayers money on a extremely wasteful FttN network. Neither should you;-)
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • I don't endorse it

          Against taxpayer money used in competitive telecoms from the being (only case being market failure).

          That said it is a fraction of the risk as the farcical Labor's NBN Co, reuse if exits ting infrastructure a plus as is the greater involvement of the private sector.
          Richard Flude
          • Yes...

            That's what you say "now"...

            But having a history of telling porkies and complete denial, really noithing you say can be believed, can it?
            RS-ef540
          • The market has failed

            There has been no upgrade to fixed line communications since ADSL1/2 was introduced, baring some cherry picking on green fields estates. The copper net has had it's preventative maintenance halted for over 10 years and is in a state of decay. No Telco wants to roll out new infrastructure in all areas unless a) the government pays for all of it or b) they get a retail monopoly and the government pays for a lot of it.

            What to you base your fraction of the risk on? The risk of reusing existing infrastructure, at nearly the same price as new, introduces dozens of extra risk elements. Stop being a Coalition fanboi and be objective. If you claim you are objective provide some proof for your rediculous claims.
            Pilfer-52cec
          • "I don't endorse it"

            Coalition clown fraudband failure confirmed as well. We are doing well today;-)

            Good to see you already identify it as a lemon so it's no wonder you want to distance yourself as much as possible before they even get a chance to make a mess of it;-)




            "reuse if exits ting infrastructure a plus as is the greater involvement of the private sector."

            Your assumption is that existing infrastructure & greater private sector involvement is a plus.

            We've established that the copper needs replacing and faster speeds than FttN can achieve are needed in the future so using "existing infrastructure" is not a plus but a minus. Strike one.

            The private sector have so far failed to significantly improve communications infrastructure in Australia due to the poor political decisions of the Howard government. They are the reason NBNco exists. Strike two.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • And...

            ... more contradictions, from you know who... unbelievable.

            Speaking of strikes, after already having contradiction #1 confirmed, we have more contradictions too HC...

            Contradiction #2...

            Today - “I don't endorse it (the Coalitions plan)”

            April 16 – “The Liberal policy document includes everything I've been posting about for years; use of existing infrastructure, priority for areas where market failed, access to infrastructure for competition, review of NBNCo past activities, CBA, etc. It is almost as if they commissioned me to write it;-)”

            I await another lame string of denials… but there is.
            RS-ef540
          • No wonder no link

            You dishonest little man, the very post you quote in its entirety:

            "Clown-in-chief [response to RS]

            My first post after the announcement started "Govt should be out of broadband"!

            The Liberal policy document includes everything I've been posting about for years; use of existing infrastructure, priority for areas where market failed, access to infrastructure for competition, review of NBNCo past activities, CBA, etc

            It is almost as if they commissioned me to write it;-)

            If they fail to deliver expect me to be as vocal as I have about the massive disaster that we've witnessed with Labor's attempt, and you've apologized for, all this time."
            http://www.zdnet.com/au/many-unanswered-questions-in-coalitions-nbn-plan-macquarie-telecom-7000014058/

            Again talkback history entirely unkind to your BS, no contradiction but in your mentally challenged mind.
            Richard Flude
          • ROFL... I awaited and received as prophesied...

            Speaking of dishonest ...

            Richard did you say...

            “The Liberal policy document includes everything I've been posting about for years; use of existing infrastructure, priority for areas where market failed, access to infrastructure for competition, review of NBNCo past activities, CBA, etc. It is almost as if they commissioned me to write it;-)”

            Yes or No...?

            The fact you added a closing paragraph saying that you will no longer endorse the Coalition's plan in the future if it doesn't work out, is irrelevant and in no way invalidates the above admission.

            All of the pertinent aspects, in relation to your full endorsement of the plan now, as it stands... were included.

            You fully endorse it (so much so, it's as if you wrote it) but today said you didn't endorse it...

            There above for all to see...

            You sir are an idiot...
            RS-ef540
          • An idiot is an idiot is an idiot

            Two people being wrong doesn't make a right. At least Turnbull has political reasons for his plan (which I have heard on the grape vine he doesn't personally like). You have no excuse, besides bias or stupidity.
            Pilfer-52cec
          • You've establish no such thing

            The three clowns post in circles; NBN Co has shown what a difficult task it is and the massive amounts if time and money required. You continue to ignore reality.
            Richard Flude
          • I'm feeling kind Richard, so I will agree with you, multiple times...

            No one, has denied it's difficult, massive amounts of money and time... we all know this and agree.

            So your point is invalid.

            Sadly it's made even harder with an uncooperative opposition clouding every aspect and introducing a level of mistruths, derision, stubbornness and of course scrutiny (although in many instances required) unheard of.

            Yes a small number of problems have arisen (we all agree), but those like me say work through them, because it is worth it. Whereas, you want to give up, quit and pay almost as much for a vastly inferior network because it easier (ooh and it's closer to one's ideological nirvana)... and unfortunately whereas we can see the pitfalls of the NBN and accept them (sans the oh me, oh my)... you refuse to even consider the problems and limitations associated with FttN :(

            Glad you weren't around (or al least instrumental :) when the copper was being rolled out, otherwise even FttN wouldn't even be on the agenda!
            RS-ef540
          • "Yes a small number of problems have arisen (we all agree), but those like me say work through them, because it is worth it. Whereas, you want to give up, quit and pay almost as much for a vastly inferior network because it easier"

            Nailed it;-)
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • DUHHHH

            "Against taxpayer money used in competitive telecoms "
            Realy
            But massive ongoing taxpayer subsidies in the not so profitable areas is OK as is the "Competitive private sector delivering second rate el cheepo solutions for max profit.

            If your wondrous private sector had delivered the goods for National infrastructure we would not even be having this dicussion.

            Reuse old high maintenance infrastructure thus locking in high operational costs with a limited platform is smart.?

            Have a close read of the Coalition Policy if you can call it that.
            http://delimiter.com.au/2013/06/12/coalition-nbn-completed-six-years-faster-false-claims-from-liberal-mp/#comment-613005
            Abel Adamski
          • We're having this discussion

            Because successive govts regulatory failure. The announcement of Labor's NBN halted all telecoms investment 6 years ago, their govt solution failing to deliver (no surprise).

            HFC would have been delivering 100mbps at least three years ago except they were prohibited from doing so.

            Failure to rollout fibre in the more high density and profitable areas first has resulted in what will be a near half a billion operating loss this financial year.

            Link to delimiter shows what? HFC and FTTN network deployments will be much faster and cheaper than FTTH. We knew it already.
            Richard Flude