Signs point to NBN construction ramp-up

Signs point to NBN construction ramp-up

Summary: Figures released last week showed that NBN Co passed 22,100 brownfield premises with fibre in the first three months of 2013, but can the company make up the gap to meet its targets by the end of June?

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TOPICS: NBN
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In a buried press release (PDF) last week, NBN Co revealed that just 22,100 brownfields premises were passed by National Broadband Network (NBN) fibre in the first three months of 2013. Will NBN Co be able to make up the difference in the second quarter?

It was in March that the government-owned company revealed that it would not meet its original target of passing 341,000 premises with NBN fibre by the end of June, instead winding it back down to between 190,000 and 220,000. This would mean between 155,000 and 175,000 brownfields sites, and between 35,000 and 45,000 greenfields sites.

This came after figures released by one of NBN Co's access seekers showed that between January and the end of February, the network had only reached an additional 1,400 premises.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said at the time that there had been difficulty in mobilising construction contractors in the field. However, he said that it was a short-term issue that could be made up this year. In the process, NBN Co took over construction of the network in the Northern Territory from Syntheo.

The release by NBN Co last week suggests that the company is beginning to see a ramp-up in March, with a total of 22,100 brownfields premises passed as of the end of March, bringing the total to 68,200. This means that in one month, NBN Co passed over 20,000 premises.

While this is a great improvement on the first few months of the year, NBN Co's construction contractors will need to be passing even more premises per day in order to get to the 155,000 to 175,000 premises passed figure for brownfields by the end of June.

In new housing estates, by the end of March, NBN Co had reached another 1,560 premises, up to 27,860. The company will need to reach between 7,000 and 17,000 more in the second quarter in order to reach its June target.

Where NBN Co has made dramatic leaps and bounds in the first three months of 2013 is in the number of customers connecting to the network. NBN Co was close to doubling the number of brownfields services from 6,600 at the end of December to 11,300 at the end of March. In greenfields, it was a similar story, with 3,800 at the end of December, jumping up to 7,500 at the end of March.

Including the fixed-wireless and satellite customers, NBN Co now has 48,600 active services on the network as of the end of March.

The company has set the target of having 44,000 brownfields premises and 10,000 greenfields premises using the NBN by the end of June. In order to reach this target, NBN Co will need to have at least around the same number of total brownfields customers as it had at the end of March — 11,000 premises — coming on per month from April until the end of June.

The company is much more likely to meet its greenfields target, where it only needs an additional 2,500 active services to meet its June target.

The company's executives are due to appear before a Budget Estimates hearing on Thursday next week, where NBN Co has historically provided the latest rollout and uptake figures. This will be the last estimates hearing that the executives will face before the September 14 federal election. The other parliamentary committee overseeing the NBN rollout is due to deliver its fifth report before the election, but partisan politics between Labor and Coalition members of the committee has threatened to derail the report.

It is likely that any further revisions to the forecast will be seized upon by Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has previously said that the delays point to a failure in the policy of rolling out fibre to the premises.

Topic: NBN

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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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44 comments
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  • Thing is Turnbull will take anything NBNco do as an indication of failure even if it contradicts one of his previous points so he is hardly credible here. The coaltion clowns have a long history of this ever since the NBN was announced. More to the point he has to so he can make his own inevitable failure seem like less of a disaster when it happens so it should be expected in any event.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Thanks Josh

    The figures deserve highlighting; it appears you weren't the only one not sent them. Funny how many got the additional work commenced press release.

    One month short of their 4th birthday NBNCo had passed a paltry 113,360 premises (all tech excluding satellite) for a spend of $5b+. And they continue to look in danger of not making their third revised downwards June 2013 fibre target - 1.3m > 304k > 190k.

    They'll be hoping to put those TransACT numbers in before June!

    It's farcical.

    Love the talkbacks from the link (good work lads):

    Hubert Cumberdale: "[Turnbull] knows that his substandard FttN patchwork plan will take just as long to implement and cost just as much as the proper NBN plan"

    karl_w_w: "If you paid attention to any of those public announcements instead of just the Liberal and News Limited FUD on the matter, you'd know they are delivering."

    Abel Adamski: "So far pretty much on schedule."

    RS-ef540: "Interesting though, reading other's comments here, they seems to indicate it's red tape elsewhere which is causing undue hold-ups?"
    Richard Flude
    • "It's farcical."

      Not really...


      "Love the talkbacks from the link (good work lads):"

      You love it because you know I'm right. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you Fluddy but Turnbulls fraudband mess wont get here any quicker than the proper NBN. $30+ billion taxpayers money wasted for Abbotts precious political ego... you were saying something about 'farcical' now?
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • LOL Herbert.

        So how much money has the Liberal party budgeted each year to maintain the old copper network that will need to be maintained for the next 50 years after FTTN is installed.
        Telstra stated its currently cost about a billion $ a year now, so just to maintain the Lib noNBN plan will cost close to $30 billion plus the initial $20 billion to build, hence making it a $50 + billion slow white elephant.

        Now factor in this. Every street cabinet will have specialized servers to convert fiber to copper. Now as these breakdown over the years the Lib's will need to purchase at least 20 years worth of stock of these from suppliers just to be able to maintain the cabinets.
        See these servers will not be around in 5 or 10 years time as suppliers will change or discontinue them.
        Remember when the RTA installed the first red light cameras, some money counter forgot to order 20 years worth of film, so when the RTA needed more film for the red light cameras, the film maker said sorry we stopped making that film 5 years earlier. They stopped all film production and went digital.
        So the RTA then had to go and replace ALL those old working red light cameras with newer future proof cameras at great expense to the tax payer.
        So I suggest spend the money on FTTH NBN as it is future proof and the servers and other equipment will be around for years to come as FTTN is very old yesterday technology and the cost of maintain FTTN will cost more then FTTH in long run, its called cost of owner ship that the Liberals have not factored in to their budget papers.
        Slider181
  • Since you are now even too afraid to answer this...

    ...I'll again answer for you again...DICK...

    "Finance and Accounting" not Economics... I just looked backed and yes I was mistaken and yes I am man enough to admit I made a mistake. Hardly a topical mistake and hardly one which changes the NBN outlook, BUT a mistake nonetheless...

    It wasn't intentional BS DICK, so please... if anything your accusation of BS was BS, but that's neither here nor there...

    Strange though... you don't even know the difference between a mistake and intentional BS?

    Being so, it would definitely explain your endless procession of... "mistakes" :)
    RS-ef540
    • Not "Finance and Accounting" either

      That's the major. Too difficult for you?

      I've never claimed your BS was intentional; like above simply a product of ignorance.
      Richard Flude
      • Really?

        After having a heap of both of our comments deleted for rudeness Richard, I now see this :/

        So let me get this straight...

        I took your word and went back, repeated exactly what "you said previously" (finance and accounting), neither of us mentioned major(s) and admitted my mistake (on your word alone), "to demonstrate good faith"...

        Yet you still want to argue over semantics and try to make cheap points out of something which is completely insignificant, off topic and frankly, something which I don't even know really exists anyway?

        So much for good faith.

        Please continue, while I deal with the actual issues, thank you :(
        RS-ef540
  • LOL

    "Unless we all make known our names"... Says Visionary (Smith?)... FFS

    We all have choices I chose for my own reasons to stay somewhat anonymous (as is my right) and DICK chose to use his name (as is his right) so, cest la vie...

    However when one chooses to do as DICK did and then with no basis, belittles others because he believes being a libertarian, CIO (with an unknown company) and having a Masters of something makes him superior, well... sorry. He has set the ground rules.

    What it does is demonstrates his psyche... because "he" actually believes being the CIO of some obscure, WGAF company makes him MR. important and what ever any of us do is inconsequential. He then idiotically equates this to, him having more knowledge experience etc ...

    Really? What sort of F'd up logic is that? But it typifies his views on the world, the NBN and his ideology.

    Funny thing is, he has tried his I am old and wise and know better than you angle on Abel (who I have the utmost respect for) and (iirc) I believe Abel would be many years DICK's senior...!!!

    So using DICK's law... Abel is in fact the one we should all be listening too... SO DONE!
    RS-ef540
  • "delays point to a failure in the policy of rolling out FTTP"

    I thought it pointed to the typical lazy greedy work ethic in the construction industry, but what the hell.
    Let's just replace the whole thing with a plan that is fail from start to finish. Oh look, that's what Turnbull is trying to do. Well done Mr Broadband.
    Pilfer-52cec
  • Richard; are we wasting our time with you?

    I am curious to your existence in these blogs. You barely add anything to the debate. Your arguments get flimsier every time we present disproving evidence; and you constantly deny any sort of information that could possibly change your opinion.

    Are we wasting our time with you? Or should we try to use reasoned debate?

    And before you go off and paint me with an eyes closed lefty. I have read at least 20 of these articles, plus all the mainstream media equivalents, including the ones from your beloved Australian, as well as international opinions and research case studies on both FttP and FttN. I even have a telstra tech worker for a friend who tells me about all the copper/nodes/cabinets etc she has worked on. (mostly pretty bad)

    Furthermore I do see the merits of a FttN network. The idea is sound, and maybe there are some places where it would be more appropriate. Especially in suburbs with very short loops and high quality 2 pair copper. I can see how that using existing copper would be quicker and cheaper and such a build may benefit those who currently have little or none quicker.

    I try to look at both sides and change my mind based on the most accurate facts and figures. And i will change my mind if i see enough valid and sound reasons too.

    What i don't understand is you. (which is more to say you and your ilk)

    You deny facts whilst believing only your own. Refuse to even consider anything other than your own preset ideas, then personally attack anyone who doesn't fall into line. Especially if they present firm, factual or correct arguments.

    Never have i ever seen you even acknowledge anything that anyone else says as correct or even accept corrections (even grammar ones) where you are clearly wrong.

    (Yes there are grammar mistakes in this post)

    You constantly state education or lack of as sound arguments or cases for credibility yet you never seem to be interested in educating yourself. An educated man or someone willing to be educated would at least agree with points of merit the other person has where they are due. They would concede points such as the technical superiority of the FttP (fiber is always better than copper) than move on. Richard; I would love to have a discussion with you on this topic and the articles posted by zdnet. But a discussion is a two way street.

    Can I expect the reply of a person willing to learn?

    Or am I just wasting my time?
    Darren.Bennett
    • Thanks Darren

      "You barely add anything to the debate."

      Strangely this very article written from information I supplied to Josh.

      "And before you go off and paint me with an eyes closed lefty. I have read at least 20 of these articles..."

      What's your point?

      "You deny facts whilst believing only your own."

      Such as?

      "Refuse to even consider anything other than your own preset ideas, then personally attack anyone who doesn't fall into line."

      Consider them all, I don't agree with all of them; defend my considered position and expect others to do the same.

      As for the abuse; a few cope it, years ago they were asked to be civil and chose not to.

      Exposing their past posts directly relevant and linked to in the article.

      "They would concede points such as the technical superiority of the FttP (fiber is always better than copper)..."

      Not always better than copper, but I've never questioned the many advantages of fibre; I've questioned the cost/benefit and the risk of failure.

      What is it you'd like me to learn, specifically?
      Richard Flude
      • To be expected

        I will take it on good faith that this is going to be discussion (despite RS's comment).

        On what technical grounds is FttP better than FttN. Lets start with that. From all the research I have done into this matter; most, if not all, credible tech experts will tell you that a FttP network is better. If you have case studies which point to this being wrong I would love to know of them and am surprised that I haven't found them myself. I fear though you will find something in this paragraph to take out of context and therefore conclude that this is incorrect.

        Secondly I am going to respond to some of the points you made.

        Yes. I was being rather aggressive with my opening statements and I apologize. I clearly didn't have all the facts for that comment and I am heartened to see that Josh has an open enough mind to look into information brought forward by even seasoned critics. Mostly I was just dramatizing the point.

        And yes everyone has a considered opinion.
        Is it always right? No.
        Are you allowed to? Yes
        Should you change it if enough information is brought to bear to disprove it? An educated man would.

        Again attacking someones else is not defending.

        Thirdly I suppose I should clarify my standing on this matter. From what I have gathered an FttP network is vastly superior to a FttN. It is faster, allows faster upload speeds, requires less maintenance and has a much longer life in terms durability and potential to be upgraded.

        This leads into the the reasons why I believe it is more cost effective. A network that can last longer with less maintenance costs and is cheaper to keep current will allow a much longer time in which to recoup its expenses and then make a profit. It is the reason they design big expensive projects with this in mind.

        So while a short term CBA would say no. The more important (especially to a younger taxpaying voter like me) longer term CBA would agree.

        This leads on to social benefits. Everyone having equal access to high quality internet is like everyone having access to high quality schooling. It makes a nation more competitive, more creative and more educated. It allows for things like home/start up server companies, home/start up software companies, file sharing communities and allows my very own roommate to teach himself how to run server systems by having his own set up. This leads to economic growth.

        In a country that is looking for other income sources outside the mining boom in a world that is ever increasing its online presence. This is an invaluable investment that would be worth it even if it was run at a loss.

        On to costs and the management behind it. This seems to be your biggest beef. You constantly point out how incompetent the government is at running it. How this will add billions of dollars to its construction costs and years to its build time. In some cases I agree.

        A poorly managed program by a poorly run government will make this venture very expensive. But why scrap it. If the liberals can do a better job if it, then I say go for it. Many of the same problems the FttP is having an FttN build will have too. How will be downgrading for an inferior network be a good idea. Especially if it is only really going to cost us a relatively small amount less.

        But please, i am interested in the logic behind your decisions. Even if you give me links to the webpages where you have previously stated them. Give me solid counter arguments. Please don't nit pick.
        Darren.Bennett
        • Darren

          RS comments above exactly what I'm talking about. Makes up his own answers, argues them and as a juvenile thinks he's right.

          I've never argued FTTP has no advantages over FTTN, nor fibre over copper. I've argued over the cost, difficulties is deployment, risk to taxpayers, incompetence of those running it, delays, forced retirement of competitive infrastructure, and alternatives.

          As an educated man I'm happy to change my opinion, but you've given me no reason too.

          Attacking others position or calling them out to defend it? Most of what's written here is wrong.

          Your belief as to the most cost effective ignores the time value of money, the cost of borrowings and the NBNCo massive failure to deliver.

          You assert a longer term CBA would justify the project? On what basis. Because you think so? $60+b taxpayers money and no CBA? A disgrace.

          Not all Australians have access to high quality schooling, there's an enormous difference in the quality available; and price.

          Why would an investment in the NBNCo be worth it even if running at a lost? Another blanket statement with no support. Would alternative investments not generate greater benefits?

          The cost and delays by NBNCo are because of the last mile. These are unavoidable if committed to 100% fibre; if not then many options become available. The future cost of the NBNCo is its monopoly and higher payments because of the retirement of perfectly useful infrastructure.

          Other comments perfectly illustrate the debate from the NBN fans. Accuse others of having an ideological position; unable to see there own nor articulate anything remotely coherent.
          Richard Flude
          • agree on the last

            mile being a significant factor in the roll out schedule . This should not be the situation, NBN Co undertook the trial locations a year or so ago to iron out those issues. I still think a huge challenge awaits when the roll out hits the old innercity areas in the major cities and of course the rows of unit blocks. My view is a range of technologlies should be considered for those places.
            Blank Look
          • The issues can't be "ironed out"

            They're real. It is just very difficult (read expensive).

            MDU with 100% fibre an extraordinary decision as was rolling out in areas without regard to revenue potential.
            Richard Flude
          • Support your position then

            "Your belief as to the most cost effective ignores the time value of money, the cost of borrowings and the NBNCo massive failure to deliver"

            The FTTP plan and FTTN plan both borrow around $30B from the government, yet you one ignores the time value of money and one doesn't? Why?
            The FTTN borrowings are even sooner than the FTTP ones. Isn't that worse?

            "You assert a longer term CBA would justify the project? On what basis. Because you think so? $60+b taxpayers money and no CBA? A disgrace"

            Support your $60B of taxpayers money. The plan calls for $30 odd million peak borrowing. Neither plan has a CBA and many experts have said it's useless. Many that support the Coalition say it's a disgrace. We will have to see if the Coalitions CBA(s) when they are in have suitable terms of reference or if they indeed every happen. If they get in, Abbott is a pretty wild cannon, he could screw an almost certain win in a heartbeat. I have my money on him punching a female reporter :)

            "Why would an investment in the NBNCo be worth it even if running at a lost? Another blanket statement with no support. Would alternative investments not generate greater benefits?"

            This investment has to be done at some stage. Unless the alternatives have a useful life, they are a waste of money. For FTTN to have a useful life it must must exceed what experts expect the requirements to be and instead follow what politicians hope it will be to make it viable.
            Here would have been a perfect point to address his home business, schooling and economic growth assertions. The NBN isn't a financial investment, it's an enabler for future generations. I'd like my grand kids to have a reliable network and until the copper is replaced they won't have it.

            "The cost and delays by NBNCo are because of the last mile. These are unavoidable if committed to 100% fibre; if not then many options become available. The future cost of the NBNCo is its monopoly and higher payments because of the retirement of perfectly useful infrastructure."

            Those same costs and delays would also apply to the FTTN plan, if not worse as the copper also needs to be fixed where it is sub par. I'd rather train someone to splice fibre than to install and wire a node cabinet... I know which one is quicker and easier for someone without years of training and experience to do. He asked about why scrap it and go to FTTN. I take it your argument is then that it would be a waste of copper? There are lots of perfectly good things thown out every day. The reason is that some times it's more cost effective, especially long term, to throw them away and get something new. If you really want to use the copper, just have it left in the ground as a community resource, they could network locally, count cars, I am sure it can be used for something useful.

            "Other comments perfectly illustrate the debate from the NBN fans. Accuse others of having an ideological position; unable to see there own nor articulate anything remotely coherent."

            You have articulated very coherently. Unfortunately not much or any of it is more than asserting your points. When asked "Why?" you ramble on again, and don't answer the questions.
            Pilfer-52cec
          • You can't make up stuff to defend your argument

            "The FTTP plan and FTTN plan both borrow around $30B from the government, yet you one ignores the time value of money and one doesn't? Why?"

            Both don't borrow the same amount, neither from govt nor total borrowing. I'm neither ignore the time value of money nor the other two points made as part of the retort.

            "The FTTN borrowings are even sooner than the FTTP ones. Isn't that worse?"

            No, not necessarily if offset with faster delivery and earlier revenue.

            "Support your $60B of taxpayers money"

            I should have said at risk; corp plan to 2021 breakeven is expenses over $60b (capex $37.4 + opex $26.4). Revenue and delivery the risk, and shown to be the case (both failing to meet expectations).

            "The plan calls for $30 odd million peak borrowing."

            Actually calls for $40.4b peak borrowing (p79), but relies on revenue predictions that are failing to be meet.

            "Neither plan has a CBA and many experts have said it's useless"

            How? Lets laugh at them together.

            "I have my money on him punching a female reporter"

            Expected comment.

            "This investment has to be done at some stage."

            No it doesn't, nor the way it is been conducted.

            "The NBN isn't a financial investment, it's an enabler for future generations."

            Fluffy nonsense; "think of the children" who'll carry the burden of debt.

            "Those same costs and delays would also apply to the FTTN plan"

            Absolute rubbish, ignoring the real-world experiences of these projects.

            "The reason is that some times it's more cost effective, especially long term, to throw them away and get something new."

            Yet the case has never been made here.

            "Unfortunately not much or any of it is more than asserting your points."

            Such as?
            Richard Flude
          • "Such as?"

            Yer, my mistake. You are correct HC and RS, what a waste of time typing the previous post. Absolutely nothing of substance in his entire reply. It's people like him that make me sad for humanity. May as well give up and die out and let something else replace us as have a, well I can't say society, a world made up of people of narcissists like him with no consideration for anyone but what is best for themselves.
            Pilfer-52cec
          • Simpler to just ignore Richard?

            Never argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
            grump-a1eeb
          • Simpler

            ... but not as much fun ;)
            RS-ef540