Outsourcing on the NBN Co cost-cutting table: Report

Outsourcing on the NBN Co cost-cutting table: Report

Summary: NBN Co boss, Bill Morrow, has said that he would consider the option of outsourcing call centres and back office jobs to low-cost locations in a bid to cut back on costs for the company, according to a report.


NBN Co chief executive, Bill Morrow, has said that the prospect of outsourcing call centres and back office jobs in a bid to cut costs would not be ruled out for the company, according to a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

In it, Morrow said that, although it was not his intention to send jobs overseas or to outsource more roles, he was not opposed to outsourcing some services.

"Who knows, it may come about and I'm not opposed to using outsourced entities if they can do it better than what we can do ourselves," Morrow told the SMH.

Morrow indicated that he had a long list of operational reviews that he would go through over a number of weeks to determine if there are areas where the company can be more efficient.

When he was chief executive at Vodafone, Morrow was a major backer of measures taken to cut back office costs, which significantly improved the telco's profits.

Morrow's comments on potential cost-cutting measures come as NBN Co considers plans to build and launch a third satellite for rural and regional areas — a move that would substantially increase the costs of its satellite project.

According to a report by the Australian Financial Review, sources close to NBN Co indicate that the company expects to release a review this month into the wireless and satellite elements of its AU$41 billion infrastructure project.

It is expected to recommend further consideration of a new satellite to be built and launched in the next decade, in addition to the two satellites already under construction, according to the AFR.

In February, NBN Co announced that Optus had been selected to operate its two satellites, currently under construction in the United States, for 15 years. The AU$620 million Ka-band satellites are scheduled to be launched next year on the back of two 777-tonne rockets by French company Arianespace.

The aim of the two satellites is to provide broadband services to approximately 200,000 premises across the Australian mainland, as well as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Macquarie Island, and the Cocos Islands.

Last month, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an AU$18.4m deal to expand capacity on the NBN interim satellite service, after capping out the amount of customers that could be supported.

After signing 45,000 customers, NBN Co ceased taking on new customers on the interim satellite service amid complaints from consumers that speeds on the service were slowing to a crawl, as demand far outstripped the available capacity on the service.

Topics: NBN, Government AU, Australia


Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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  • No Choice

    All those massive extra costs for the Pay TV Network Infrastructure upgrade and extension, not to mention the organisation, equipment, stores etc required toe maintain and repair the copper and HFC, not forgetting the pit and duct remediation and asbestos issues which were Telstra's isue will now become NBN's. Either with the purchase of the kit and caboodle or paying Telstra to maintain and add their profit on top.

    Ah the sheer economic genius
    Abel Adamski
    • Plus there is more

      The Super, Long Service Leave, Annual Leave, Sick leave, redundancy obligations of all those relatively long serving very well paid Telstra employees.
      Abel Adamski
  • yeah right

    Hey Bill, here is some free advice.

    You've obviously haven't read the contracts with your wholesale customers; Optus, iiNet, TPG and Telstra where you'll probably find several conditions requiring account data to be managed onshore.

    Many major carriers, wholesalers and corporates have such clauses in their telco agreements (though not all).

    That said finding an off-shore call centre that is sophisticated and capable of managing complex back of house transactions is going to be a bit of struggle.

    Bill this ain't a consumer operation your running. Wholesale carrier telcos don't want to deal with some bloke in Indian regardless of his skill set. Hell the iiNet and Telstra guys alone will require you to have much of your staff onshore.

    They want to be able talk to the same person. Hell when you have a complex billing issue caused by back end system error in the provisioning process compounded by staff errors and delays and someone has to rebuild two years worth of billing, couple that with complex customer negotiations and there is just no way that can be done off-shore.

    trust me....i've been there.
    • And Therin lies the problem

      M.T and Bill are trying to build a big fat profitable Telco in a rush, that is their expertise, short term profits. NOT Essential National Infrastructure that will serve the Nation for many decades at minimal overall cost over the long term
      Abel Adamski