NBN: Fixing the Delays and Disappointments

At the CommsDay Summit last month Tony Warren, Telstra Group Executive for Corporate Affairs, said NBN ‘s customer handover process was plagued with delays and disappointment. It’s of particular concern as the deadline looms for the disconnection of copper in the NBN’s first fibre service areas. Householders have till May 23rd to put their orders in and, even if they do, NBNCo still has to build the lead-in from the street.

NBNCo’s demand-build approach seems to be at the heart of the process issues. Rachel McIntyre, National Broadband Product Manager at iiNet, says customers receive letters from NBNCo telling them services are available, when they’re not. The lead-in still had to be built and often there weren’t people available to conduct that installation.

John Simon, Chief Customer Officer at NBNCo, says a lot of these processes will go away as the company moves to a drop-build approach. In other words, lead-ins are built at the same time as fibre is delivered down the street.

This might solve the problem, but the issue becomes more complex if other infrastructure providers are allowed to compete. Do they need to follow the same customer handover process? If that happens Phil Smith, Chief Regulatory Officer at Opticomm, says we need to look at separating the operational processes from the network operator.

Another level of complexity to throw into the NBN cobweb.

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