NBN Co cleanses rollout website

NBN Co has removed key rollout data from its website, leaving hundreds of thousands of premises that had been scheduled to get the NBN in the next three years in doubt.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Information on what premises could expect to receive the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the next three years has been scrubbed from NBN Co's website as part of an overhaul of the project under the new Coalition government.

Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet

ZDNet understood as early as midday yesterday that the company was planning to scrub the website, but NBN Co would not confirm the change before it was made late yesterday evening. Where in the old website, premises in areas that could expect construction to commence in the next three years could be located, now NBN Co only lists areas where building has commenced or services are already available.

According to myNBN.info website founder Kenneth Tsang, around 500,000 premises have had their information removed from the website, leaving around 307,800 premises included. This matches the promise from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull that around 300,000 premises could expect to see construction of the fibre-to-the-premises network continue in the interim while NBN Co conducts its 60-day strategic review.

The Coalition has indicated that the outcome of the review could see NBN Co incorporate a number of alternative technologies, including fibre to the node, instead of the current plan for 93 percent of premises to receive fibre to the premises.

While the move to scrub the rollout website limits the amount of transparency into the rollout at this stage, Turnbull has promised that NBN Co will soon be required to publish weekly figures online detailing the progress of the rollout, including the number of premises passed, those that can and can't connect to the NBN, and the number of active services.

In a letter from Turnbull and the other NBN shareholder minister, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, to NBN chair Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Turnbull again confirmed plans to "improve the quality and transparency of NBN Co's reporting".

Accompanying the letter was NBN Co's annual report (PDF) for the financial year ending June 30, 2013, in which NBN Co reported a loss of AU$932 million. This was slightly lower than expected, due to the company not meeting its rollout targets.

Revenue from the 70,100 customers active on the network was also lower than forecast, down to AU$17 million instead of the projected AU$18 million. AU$5 million of the revenue came from fibre services, while AU$7 million came from the fixed wireless and satellite services.

NBN Co said the lower revenue was largely due to lower activations, but was largely offset by a higher than expected average revenue per user (ARPU) of AU$37 per month.

"Strong demand for higher wholesale speed tiers has contributed to ARPU being higher than the 2012-15 plan assumptions."

NBN Co's executive team took home close to AU$9 million in the 2013 financial year, with former NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley picking up AU$1.9 million. Unlike the previous financial year, where NBN Co's executive team took home more than half a million in bonuses, none of the executive team picked up any short-term incentives or bonuses in the 2013 financial year.

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