Tuesday, 16 August 2016 12:13

NBN ‘on track' and buoyed by exceeding network rollout targets Featured

Bill Morrow, NBNCo CEO Bill Morrow, NBNCo CEO

Controversy and questions about broadband speed and performance aside, NBN Co, the company building the National Broadband Network, has today released its 2016 financial results and says it has exceeded connection and financial targets for the ninth consecutive quarter. And, the project is “on track”, with the NBN footprint now extended to 2.9 million premises, with 1.1 million connected.

Issues over the NBN, its technology mix, speed and quality of broadband delivery and the negative politics of the massive project were momentarily cast aside today when chief executive Bill Morrow said, “During the year we doubled our Ready for Service footprint to 2.9 million premises, and at the same time, we doubled the amount of end users connected hitting a record high of 1.1 million”.

A video of Bill Morrow's presentation prepared by iTWire's Alex Zaharov-Reutt can be found here.

And, as Morrow also said, revenue more than doubled over the last 12 months with a “reported $421 million”.

He was buoyant but measured about the full-year performance, acknowledging that although NBN Co had exceeded its core FY2016 targets, more needed to be done to retain momentum.

“It’s fair to say our performance indicators are very strong, but in a business like ours that needs to continue to grow at an unprecedented pace, we cannot accept the status quo, so we must continually look for ways to improve our momentum,” Morrow said.

Some of the key metrics reported today:

• The number of homes and businesses with an active NBN service more than doubled from 486,000 to 1.1 million (2016 Corporate Plan target: 955,000);

• With the increase in end users, revenue more than doubled from $164 million to $421 million (target: $300 million);

• The number of premises able to order an NBN service more than doubled from 1.2 million to 2.9 million (target: 2.6 million);

• ARPU $43 (FY2015: $40);

• Customer satisfaction increased from 6.6 to 7.2 points out of 10; and

• Employee engagement increased by 17 percentage points, NBN now in the top quartile of ANZ employers.

“NBN has met or exceeded every target the board set for FY2016. This is the ninth consecutive quarter of meeting or exceeding targets,” Morrow said.

“As we have confirmed throughout the year, the rollout of the NBN network is very much on track,” he said.

“Today, nearly two thirds of the nation’s premises are currently in design, in construction or able to order an NBN service, and that is tangible progress.”

And, the performance of NBN CO and the rollout of the broadband network has brought praise from the federal government, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann boasting that the NBN “has now hit each of its targets for nine consecutive quarters an unbroken run for over two years” — and showing the multi-technology mix is “enabling more Australians to experience the benefits of high-speed broadband as quickly as possible”.

“This level of revenue growth could only be achieved because the NBN is being connected to more premises, more quickly than ever before,” the ministers said in a statement.

“NBN had a target of 2.632 million homes ready for service – they beat that target by over a quarter of a million premises. NBN had a target of 955,000 premises activated – they beat that target by over 100,000 premises.

“There are now close to 1.2 million paying customers on the NBN network. That’s up from just 51,000 customers connected to the built network when Labor was in charge of the rollout – more than 20 times as many customers in less than three years,” they noted.

Morrow told today’s media briefing that of the 2.9 million premises able to order an NBN service, 70% of the premises are in non-metro and regional Australia as part of NBN Co’s aim to bridge the “digital divide”.

“The NBN team has been working together with our delivery partners to rollout the NBN network to more Australians than ever before – today, one in four homes can order an NBN service,” he stressed.

Morrow also confirmed the company had launched all major products over the past 12 months within the multi-technology mix suite to enable fast broadband as soon as possible, including:

• FTTN successfully trialled and launched to market in September 2015;

• Sky Muster I satellite launched 36,000 km into space in October 2015;

• Sky Muster satellite service successfully trialled and launched to market in April 2016;

• HFC successfully trialled and launched to market in June 2016; and

• FTTdp commenced pilot phase for testing.

“The NBN rollout has now built considerable momentum and we are quickly ticking off our milestone targets,” Morrow said.

“The NBN network remains one of the most complex projects to complete and we are now underway with the task of doubling our build again in this financial year,” he said, while expressing confidence in his management group to meet challenges on the road to the planned 2020 full rollout.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a 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).

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