NBN signs fibre contracts with Visionstream, Fulton Hogan

Visionstream and Fulton Hogan have won the tenders for NBN's final MTM design and construction contracts to roll out broadband services to 450,000 new development premises.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The National Broadband Network (NBN) company has announced signing two new four-year design and construction master agreements (DCMAs) with Visionstream and Fulton Hogan to roll out multi-technology mix (MTM) broadband services to around 450,000 premises in new development areas, as well as 150 transit fibre links.

According to NBN, these contracts will be the final MTM construction agreements signed.

"These new DCMA agreements provide us with the agility to deploy the NBN network to new homes in greenfield developments and in-fill brownfield areas," NBN chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan said.

Both Visionstream and Fulton Hogan already held multi-technology integrated master agreement (MIMA) delivery contracts with NBN, having re-signed contracts in June last year based on NBN's new performance-based model.

Those contracts enabled Visionstream and Fulton Hogan, along with Downer, Transfield, and WBHO, to cover 4 million premises with fibre to the node (FttN), fibre to the basement (FttB), or fibre to the premises (FttP), with Visionstream estimating the worth of its contract to be more than AU$270 million over five years.

Visionstream added that it expected to be rolling out FttN and FttP to premises in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania.

NBN's 2017 Corporate Plan revealed that under the MTM, a base case of 2 million or 17 percent of premises will be covered by FttP; 6.1 million or 51 percent by FttN/B/fibre to the distribution point; 2.8 million or 24 percent by hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC); and 1 million or 8 percent by fixed-wireless or satellite.

NBN had switched to a performance-based contracting model following extensive industry consultation, with the aim of improving flexibility, competition between contractors, and pricing based on delivery.

"What this means is that the performance of our construction partners, the quality of their work, and their adherence to safe work practices will determine how much additional work they will receive," NBN CEO Bill Morrow said last year.

"We have worked closely with the industry to reduce the complexity of our contracts to make them easier to administer and to reward good work as we gear up to accelerate the rollout."

Visionstream was also contracted earlier this month to install the majority of New Zealand telecommunications provider Chorus' Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network across New Zealand.

Visionstream will install around 80 percent of the UFB areas that Chorus is accountable for -- in Queenstown, Dunedin, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, and Invercargill in the South Island; and Napier, Masterton, Hastings, Hutt Valley, and Gisborne in the North Island.

Visionstream has also already taken over installing Chorus' fibre in Wellington, Porirua, and Manawatu, with Chorus saying it has seen "significant improvements in performance in those areas" as a result.

Visionstream additionally signed a AU$250 million three-year contract extension with Telstra in July to deliver its wideband services across Australia.

Under the Telstra contract, Visionstream is responsible for delivering all program management, design, construction, and network integration for Telstra's voice, data, and IP products across Australia.

Visionstream has worked on Telstra's wideband project for government and business customers since 2004, with another AU$120 million contract awarded in 2012 and a AU$350 million contract to supply maintenance and building services to over 40,000 exchange and network assets in April.

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