NBN confident of hitting all its yearly targets

NBN passed its year-end target for premises activated last week, the company has told Senate Estimates.

The company responsbile for deploying the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia has claimed it is ahead of schedule, according to at least one of its yearly targets.

NBN told Senate Estimates last night, prior to officially announcing its third quarter results on Friday, that its revenue had hit AU$111 million, representing a 55 percent jump year-on-year and AU$275 million until the end of Q3; premises deemed ready for service has passed 2 million, an increase of 109 percent year-on-year; premises activated had increased 132 percent year-on-year to 903,000; and average revenue per user rose by AU$3 to AU$43.

"The results show real progress, real momentum, we are going to hit our year-end numbers and exceed our year-end numbers. Each quarter we continue to do that which we are very, very proud of," NBN chief financial officer Stephen Rue said.

NBN CEO Bill Morrow was bullish on the company's end of year results.

"There's less than nine weeks to go before the end of the year, and we're very optimistic, barring any unforeseen circumstances that we will hit every target that we have been given," Morrow said.

On the issue of a job advertisement for an NBN copper assurance manager to work in Mumbai, which was posted on Twitter yesterday by Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare, Morrow said the role was to keep an eye on the Indian outsourcing companies NBN is using.

"They are looking after a service that is being provided by a company called TCS [Tata Consultancy Services]," Morrow said. "They are looking after the contract servicing requirements that's expected from that company."

Morrow would not be drawn on how many employees TCS has dedicated to NBN.

NBN said it had taken the number of technology choice program customers from the three reported last month to four -- one of the customers being a strata that wished to run fibre to all dwellings in a block.

The company responded to a Question on Notice recently stating it had spent close to AU$1.5 billion on IT capital expenditure by the end of last year.

Morrow conceded last night that even if fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FttDP) were available to be deployed today, the company would hold back on making the product available due to additional work needed on its IT system to integrate FttDP.

Touching on concerns that Australia had fallen in the Akamai speed rankings recently, Morrow said NBN was not to blame, as NBN customers only made up 10 percent of the sample for Australia.

The company appeared to lower the cost on a AU$29 million pledge made by Labor last month to hook a number of towns on the west coast of Tasmania up with a "fibre link".

"The estimated cost, which is between AU$15-20 million to build fibre out in those areas, that also have the reliably necessary to keep the service up and working when faults do occur," Morrow said

As we understand it, people are very optimistic about finding a solution, and as a result of that, we have suspended the satellite service in that area, with the hopes that people will be able to come forward with the money so we can in fact build out [the network]."

In its announcement, Labor did not detail whether this "fibre link" would entail a fibre-to-the-premises (FttP), fibre-to-the-node (FttN), fibre-to-the-basement (FttB), or FttDP network.

Similarly in his Budget reply speech on Thursday night, Labor leader Bill Shorten did not state the model for NBN that Labor would use in government, and only committed his party to a "first-rate, fibre, National Broadband Network".