Home Telecoms & NBN Telstra snares two new contracts for nbn work

Telstra snares two new contracts for nbn work

The NBN Co has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Telstra for two new contracts for the design procurement and construction management of the national broadband network.

Under the deal, the work would begin next year with Telstra managing the work for the 3.6 million premises in the future nbn hybrid fibre coaxial network (HFC) network that will be serviced by key components of the current Telstra HFC network.

nbn also announced today announced two agfreements for the provision of ‘operate and maintain’ services for the fixed line technologies as activations accelerate across the country.

As well as Telstra, Service Stream and BSA have each been awarded an Operate and Maintain Master Agreement to manage the design and construction of the nbn, and to operate and maintain nbn’s growing multi-technology mix.

nbn says the works under the Master Agreement involve activating homes and businesses, along with ongoing maintenance to help ensure access to a reliable and fast broadband experience for all end users. Work covered by the OMMA relates to operations and maintenance work once an area has been declared ‘ready for service’ (RFS) and end-users are able to order a connection.

nbn said tody activations on the network are accelerating, with current weekly figures at more than 10,000 new users compared to approximately 4,000 in December 2014.

On its MOU with nbn, Telstra said today if arrangements are negotiated as expected, it will become a partner in managing the design and build of a large portion of the HFC network, which is estimated to total 34% of the national nbn footprint.

The MoU between Telstra and nbn relates to design and construction management and also provides – through the proposed EPCM - for Telstra to undertake self-performed work ( in exchanges).

nbn says work under the proposed EPCM will also continue past management of nbn MIMA contractors, some Telstra self-performed work and defects liability work. All product development, related activities with retail providers, and work required once end-users are able to order a connection, continue to be managed by nbn.

nbn CEO Bill Morrow said: “The nbn team is gearing for the next stage of exponential growth, building on the now 1.7 million premises ready for service and the 700,000 homes and businesses that are actively using the nbn network.

“We’re now tracking over 10,000 new activations a week. By the end of this financial year we’re on track for nearly 1 in 4 homes to be able to order an nbn service and by June of 2018 this is set to grow to 3 in 4.

“To optimise the network build and provide access to an excellent service for Australians, united partnerships with the construction and telecommunications industry are a key priority.

“This year we have re-set our relationships with the industry by improving the way we collaborate and structure competitive, flexible agreements with our partners.”

Morrow said nbn is continuing discussions with Optus about work for the future nbn HFC network currently passed solely by the existing Optus HFC network. He said a successful trial continues on the Optus HFC network in Redcliffe, Queensland, with end users experiencing speeds of up to 100Mbps/40Mbps.

According to Morrow, the advantage of Telstra and Optus managing the build within their existing HFC network footprint is in simplifying the physical changeover to the nbn network during the co-existence period.

Morrow said potential risks in complicated migrations could be significantly reduced or avoided if the legacy owner manages the transition to Ready for Service, and nbn would retain strong oversight of its network which will be built according to the company's specifications.

Morrow also said these arrangements will have no impact on nbn’s peak funding estimate.

In addition, nbn has made an agreement for Telstra legacy customers, relating to activations and assurance work during the 18 month disconnection window in areas that have been declared RFS.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).