COO Greg Adcock leaves NBN orbit

The chief operating officer will depart NBN after leading the charge on network design and deployment for the MTM fibre and satellite, as well as implementation of the AU$11 billion deal with Telstra.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has announced that its chief technology officer, Greg Adcock, will be departing, as the company no longer requires the role.

"I am pleased to have been a part of the leadership team driving the progress made over the last two years," Adcock said in a statement.

"I can't thank the NBN team enough for their focus and dedication, and I will watch their continued progress with pride."

Adcock was appointed as COO of NBN at the end of 2013 following the Coalition's election and subsequent decision to move away from Labor's full fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) rollout to the present so-called multi-technology mix (MTM) network.

The MTM NBN is expected to cost up to AU$56 billion in peak funding, and aims to cover 20 percent of the Australian population with FttP; 38 percent with fibre to the node and fibre to the building (FttP/B); 34 percent with hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC); 5 percent with fixed wireless; and 3 percent with satellite services. It is due to be completed in 2020.

At the start of this month, NBN also launched the first of its two new AU$620 million Ka-band satellites as part of its long-term satellite solution for those living in rural and remote areas, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield claiming that it would be a "game changer".

"The NBN long-term satellite service will be a game changer for many remote Australians, offering broadband services at ADSL2-comparable speeds for the first time," Fifield said.

In April, Adcock was reshuffled from a focus on network design and deployment toward more of a focus on implementing the new AU$11 billion agreement with Telstra, which will see the telco hand over its HFC and legacy copper network assets, as well as transitioning its customers onto the NBN.

With the functions within the business that Adcock previously oversaw now split out between separate divisions that no longer report to the COO, the need for the role faded, according to an NBN spokesperson.

Adcock will remain as an advisor to chief executive Bill Morrow until his departure either at the end of the year or the beginning of 2016.

"We appreciate Greg's contributions in advancing NBN and helping the company overcome many of the challenges it was facing in network delivery," Morrow said on Wednesday morning.

"Greg leaves the Network Engineering and Deployment team with strong leaders, ready to scale and accelerate the build of the NBN network."

The COO role will not be replaced, although Peter Ryan, executive general manager of Regional Deployment, has been chosen to lead the network engineering and deployment functions in the interim while the company searches for a chief network engineering officer.

Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare stated earlier on Wednesday that he expects the NBN to change its MTM model yet again -- from FttN to a model that implements fibre to the curb or fibre to the distribution point.

Speaking at the CommsDay Melbourne Congress, Clare said he predicts NBN to bring fibre "to the driveway", leaving only the lead-ins in place.

"NBN has also recently revealed that they are about to trial G.Fast in the lab," he said. "I think it is likely that sometime between now and the next election the new Minister will announce that NBN will be rolling out fibre-to-the-curb -- using G.Fast.

"It will be evidence that Labor was right and Malcolm Turnbull was wrong."

These claims come off the back of news last week that the number of consumer complaints about the NBN to the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) rose by 68.6 percent year over year for the 2015 financial year.

Acting Ombudsman Diane Carmody said most of the NBN complaints were due to delays in being connected to the network, as well as technicians missing installation appointments with customers -- signalling a lack of communication between NBN, consumers, and retail service providers.

According to the report [PDF], connection delays made up 1,360 of NBN complaints, while 595 were about fully unusable services and 384 were about missed connection appointments.

The TIO in May similarly reported that it had received 1,635 NBN-related complaints during January to March 2015 -- a 15.6 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. Connection complaints made up 44.8 percent of these.

"The customer is at the heart of everything we do. We will continue to work with RSPs -- who retail our network to consumers -- to continue to improve service levels and customer satisfaction," an NBN spokesperson told ZDNet at the time.

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