nbn talks up FY2017 performance
nbn co has announced that it has exceeded its core FY2017 targets, and said it remains confident it will connect Australia to its controversial broadband network on time and on budget.
In a statement, the company highlighted what it saw as its main achievements over the past 12 months: the launch of the second Sky Muster satellite; introduction of Fibre-to-the-Curb technology; secured funding to complete the rollout; reached the halfway built mark; and applied a new CVC discounting model for retailers.
The network now reaches 5.7 million premises, with 2.4 million active services and $1 billion in revenue.
“To almost double the footprint again on the back last year’s efforts is incredible progress and means many more Australians will have access to fast broadband sooner,” said nbn CEO Bill Morrow.
“The momentum has seen the team deliver a record 140,000 premises to the footprint in one week, putting us clearly at the centre of our peak construction period. Our delivery partners and nbn employees have worked tirelessly to reach this incredible pace,” he added.
According to Morrow, during the 2016–17 financial year, nbn added another 2.8 million premises to its footprint, exceeding its forecast by 300,000 premises.
“Looking ahead, FY2018 is another significant construction year, and arguably the most visible and difficult as we roll out in high-density cities. We are taking our learnings from the first half of the build, and applying them to ensure greater serviceability and efficiencies, particularly as we introduce Fibre-to-the-Curb into the mix,” said Morrow.
In its statement, nbn co said it recognised that “some issues have been raised” with the activation process, but said that take-up is “both earlier and stronger than expected”. It said that at the end of the 18-month migration window, “of those who can connect to the nbn network more than 75 per cent have done so”.
“The vast majority of people using the nbn network are satisfied and we are certainly listening to those who are not,” said Morrow.
“This past year, industry end-user satisfaction results reinforced the need for simple public information, openness about the network’s capability in comparison to speed packages purchased, and for us all to improve our processes for connections, troubleshooting and complaint escalations. We listen, we adjust, we learn and improve,” he added.
New nbn appointee
Meanwhile, the federal government has appointed Drew Clarke as a non-executive director of the board of nbn co for a term of three years, commencing on 22 August.
Clarke should be well versed in all things nbn, having served as Secretary of the Department of Communications from 2013 to 2015, where he was involved in the large-scale review and reform of the nbn.
He had also served as Secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism from 2010 to 2013 and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister from September 2015 to April 2017.
In a joint statement, Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann and Minister for Communication Mitch Fifield said that Clarke “is uniquely placed to assist the nbn Board as the rollout increases in scale and the company transitions from network construction to an operational business.
“Mr Clarke’s extensive government and regulatory experience will enhance the Board’s capability through to the completion of the nbn rollout in 2020.”
Commenting on Clarke’s appointment, Laurie Patton, executive director of Internet Australia, said that he was “the hapless departmental secretary who oversaw the creation of the dreaded MTM model causing the government so much grief right now”.
“Let’s hope he has had an epiphany and encourages nbn co to sort out the mess and head off an impending disaster,” said Patton.
“Whoever is on office in 2020 will be lumbered with a business owing it circa $19 billion and needing to spend billions to replace the inferior FTTN (copper wire) network.”
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