Home Telecoms & NBN NBN doubles revenue to $1 billion as rollout passes halfway mark

NBN doubles revenue to $1 billion as rollout passes halfway mark

Criticisms and public and industry disquiet about the National Broadband Network aside, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has given an upbeat assessment on the broadband rollout on the back of revenue more than doubling from $421 million to $1 billion for the 12 months to the end of June - against the 2017 corporate plan target of $900 million.

On the negative side, Morrow acknowledged, however, a “higher volume of issues when connecting”, but asserted that the issues remain relative to the pace of the build and reach of the network.

The full-year report shows NBN network activations approaching 50,000 weekly and Morrow says that, while NBN Co recognised some issues have been raised with the activation process, “take-up is both earlier and stronger than expected”.

According to the report issued on Tuesday, the number of premises connected to retail services on the NBN network grew by 122% to 2.4 million premises — against a target of 2.3 million in the corporate plan — while bringing in the $1 billion in revenue.

“At the end of the 18-month migration window, of those who can connect to the NBN network more than 75% have done so. This is higher than NBN’s forecast take-up rate, with the majority of connections now occurring in the first six months of the migration window,” Morrow says.

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“We continue to improve our processes and integration with those of our delivery partners and retailers for seamless access to retail services on the NBN network.”

Overall, the FY report shows the NBN footprint now reaches 5.7 million premises, 2.4 million active services and $1 billion in revenue and NBN Co says it remains confident it will connect the country to fast broadband “on time and budget”.

Morrow touts the progress: “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.

“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.”

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And Morrow told a media briefing that there was “no denying the progress of the rollout”.

“Hitting these targets we don’t find easy, but to complete (the) build by 2020 we would have achieved one of the fastest rollouts in the world. Our rate of growth is unprecedented.”

According to NBN CO it has delivered a “significant year of construction” almost doubling the entire footprint to 5.7 million homes ready for service and passing the halfway mark.

“When looking at the non-metro footprint alone, the NBN network is two thirds completed. The metro footprint is one third completed with a strong focus on construction in major cities scheduled for FY2018,” the full-year report says.

But, Morrow says that 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.”

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According to Morrow, the vast majority of people using the NBN network are “satisfied”, adding that “we are certainly listening to those who are not”.

"We want to ensure end users have a good experience. The vast majority are ok, it is a miniority the industry wants to sort. The negative sentiment we hear about does not reflect overall dissatisfaction across all of the telcos.

“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.

“NBN performed well against plan in fiscal 2017, and continues to with almost six million homes and businesses able to connect and nearly three million using services on the network today. The momentum is undeniable.”

Graphics: courtesy NBN Co

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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).