NBN appoints chief network engineering officer

NBN has appointed its interim chief network engineering officer into the permanent role, with the executive to oversee the network's design, engineering, and rollout.

The company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has appointed a new staff member to the role of chief network engineering officer after erasing the role of chief technology officer in October.

The new role will be filled by Peter Ryan, who left Vodafone after 15 years to join NBN at the beginning of 2013 as general manager of Implementation, before moving into an executive general manager role in February 2014.

Ryan has been the acting chief network engineering officer since NBN removed the role of chief technology officer in October, with Greg Adcock departing the company as a result.

Under his previous roles, Ryan was responsible for designing, constructing, and delivering the regional fixed-wireless network and fixed-line networks.

"Peter is a global veteran of the telco industry, and has built a sound knowledge of the business in his previous role of executive general manager, Regional Deployment," said Morrow.

"His expertise is complemented by his strong relationships with the team, both in-house and in our extended team within the delivery partner network. He brings fresh eyes to the role to pair with his experience in the network build."

Ryan will now be responsible for the network's overarching engineering, design, and deployment, and will report directly to NBN CEO Bill Morrow.

"Peter will play a key role on a very capable executive team driving exponential network growth and integration across the multi-technology mix," added Morrow.

"This is one of the largest infrastructure projects ever seen in Australia and, quite possibly, the world."

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 fibre to the premises; 38 percent with fibre to the node and fibre to the building, making use of the legacy Telstra copper; 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.

NBN this week made the decision to rezone 40,000 homes due to receive satellite services into the fixed-line and fixed-wireless footprint in order to deliver higher speeds and more generous data allowances to customers.

NBN is now offering up to 150GB per month for customers on its long-term satellite solution, plus 50GB extra for distance education students, on speeds of 25Mbps down/5Mbps up.

"Using the full extent available capacity on the second satellite, we've determined that with an increase in the fixed-wireless footprint -- around about 40,000 services -- and optimisation of the rest of the environment, we can deliver that doubling of the basic plan for consumers in regional and remote Australia," Gavin Williams, NBN executive general manager of Fixed Wireless and Satellite Products, told media on Monday.

"So what that means is our basic service moves from an average download of 15GB a month to 30GB a month, and the maximum allowable package on most plans moving from 75GB plan to 75GB in peak, but a total size of 150GB. So that's a massive increase into what previously has been contemplated for the satellite basic plan."

Earlier this month, NBN also announced that it doubled the speeds on its fixed-wireless network, now offering 50Mbps down and 20Mbps up.

"By the time we complete the NBN network rollout in 2020, this world-leading broadband service will provide more than half a million homes and businesses living in regional and rural Australia with access to faster internet speeds that rival what their city cousins have available today," Williams said.

The fixed-wireless upgrade follows news this month that the cost of replacing and repairing Telstra's legacy copper network has blown out to AU$640 million, and another leaked document two weeks before that revealed Optus' HFC network is "not fully fit for purpose", with 470,000 premises in the footprint needing to be overbuilt by either Telstra HFC or fibre services.