Saturday, 31 August 2019 06:02

NBN cuts activation target in 2020-23 corporate plan Featured

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NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue: "As we work to lift the digital capability of this great nation, we hope to bring greater economic and social opportunities for all Australians.” NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue: "As we work to lift the digital capability of this great nation, we hope to bring greater economic and social opportunities for all Australians.” Courtesy YouTube

Australia's broadband builder NBN Co says network building will continue beyond the stated deadline of June 2020, to hook up 100,000 premises defined as "complex installations, which include properties that are difficult to access and some culturally significant areas and heritage sites".

Releasing its 2020-23 corporate plan on Friday, the company said it had reduced its activations target from the earlier plan, down to 7.0 million from the original target of 7.5 million. The target in the 2017 corporate plan was 8.1 million.

Despite this the company stated that it was on schedule and on budget to complete construction of the network by 30 June 2020, a statement it clarified in a footnote which said: "NBN Co's build completion commitment is that all standard installation premises in Australia are able to connect to the NBN access network as at the build completion date.

"This excludes premises in future new developments which will be an ongoing activity of NBN Co beyond the build completion date. It also excludes a small proportion of premises defined as 'complex connections'."

The revenue target for FY2020 was downgraded to $3.7 billion, from $4.9 billion in 2017 and $3.9 billion last year. Capital expenditure for 2020 has also gone up, from $3.6 billion in last year's report to $4.3 billion.

By June 2020, 11.5 million homes and businesses would be able to order an NBN service, it said.

Chief executive Stephen Rue said: “With completion of the network well in sight, now is the time to focus on how Australians in homes and businesses across the nation can get the most out of the NBN access network.

“Improving customer experience and satisfaction will remain the key driver in coming years as we complete the transition to become a full-scale service delivery organisation – and we will put customers at the centre of everything we do.

“The next few years will be critical for NBN Co and we will be working harder than ever to help ensure all Australians who connect to services over the NBN access network have a positive experience. As we work to lift the digital capability of this great nation, we hope to bring greater economic and social opportunities for all Australians.”

Commenting on the plan, Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said: "The NBN Co Corporate Plan highlights the challenges facing the economics of the NBN. Build and operating costs out to mid-2022 are $1.3 billion higher than previously forecast, and cash flows have been delayed. NBN is clearly struggling with the complexity of multiple technology rollouts.

“Labor will scrutinise these figures carefully over the coming days.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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