NBN’s Mixed Review

There’s few surprises in the NBNCo Strategic Review. It promises a mixed technology approach to Australia’s broadband network. On the same day we learnt that Vodafone’s Mr-Fix-It, local CEO Bill Morrow, has been appointed as head of NBNCo. A big week for NBN News.

It follows a day when Senator Stephen Conroy tried hard to use a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network to discredit certain aspects of the review. For example, the review highlights how far off track the project was. Yet Conroy points to the 2013 corporate plan which, he says, would have been passed by the NBNCo board if most of them hadn’t been encouraged to resign. It included lower rollout forecasts for this financial year – 600,000 rather than the 1.2million referred to in the Strategic Review.

Conroy also used the forum to reinforce Mike Quigley’s comments that NBNCo had been implementing numerous efficiencies that would cut $4.5 billion from the deployment costs. Speaking at TelSoc last week he said these validated changes would offset any reported increases.

So, the good news is, there are savings to be had in the delivery of fibre to the premises. The new Strategic Review seems to agree. That just leaves the question of whether Telstra’s copper is up to the task of offering a copper/fibre hybrid solution for up to 50% of fixed line premises.

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