NBN Co downgrades construction targets

Quigley revealed that Syntheo, a joint venture with Lend Lease and Service stream, has not yet connected any fibre serving area modules (FSAMs), despite starting construction on the NBN in some areas 19 months ago.

NBN Co has downgraded its June 2013 target for the number of premises passed due to construction delays from Syntheo, the company's CEO, Mike Quigley, told a Senate hearing last night.

Quigley told a Senate Estimates hearing that the organisation was downgrading its June 2013 target of premises passed from just under 300,000 to 286,000.

“The reason for the change is one of our construction partners has reduced significantly their forecast since we presented back in the October timeframe,” Quigley said.

Syntheo is responsible for passing 48,620 premises in SA, WA and the NT by June 2013 – 17 per cent of the 286,000 target for June.

Quigley said that Syntheo, a joint venture with Lend Lease and Service stream, has not yet connected any fibre serving area modules (FSAMs) in WA or the NT, despite starting construction on the NBN in some areas 19 months ago. He said some premises in SA had been connected.

Quigley said the delay was due to Syntheo facing challenges.

“We’re working with them to try and overcome those,” he said.

While Quigley stated there were “a range of issues” which have impacted on Syntheo’s work, he did not reveal what the problems were.

Syntheo has some $315 million worth of work with NBN Co, including a $174 million design and construction contract with NBN Co to roll out fibre in Western Australia and a $141 million contract for work in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Quigley said Syntheo has already received upfront payments for some of the work, such as the design phase of FSAMs, as part of phased payments.

Other construction companies involved in rolling out the NBN include Silcar in Queensland, NSW and the ACT (responsible for around 60 per cent of the June target); Transfield in Victoria (targeting 13 per cent); and Visionstream in Tasmania (targeting around 10 per cent of the June target).

Despite the downward revision of the June target, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said he still believes NBN Co will meet its target.

“We set a corporate target of 286,00 and not withstanding some challenges, NBN Co still believe they can meet that target,” he said.

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Tags Stephen Conroynbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)premises passedMike Quigley

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Fred Nerk


The construction process for NBN has been tortuous to watch. Universal Communications manages it for NBNCO, Universal subbies out the work in Queensland to Silcar, Silcar subbies out to regional contractors, who then subbie out to "two blokes and a ute" - there seems to be no quality control and limited communication between parties.

Construction plans signed off between NBN and landowners rarely convert into what is installed on the ground.

In the Aitkenvale (NQ) pilot area FO was strung overhead. One contractor ran cable loops and went away, another contractor installed FSAMs later, another group later drilled power poles for poletop terminator boxes, someone else came later to hang the terminator boxes, yet another then came back to add cable at the terminator box (left coiled up on the pole, another then came and attached the cable to individual properties, another then added the external residential terminator, yet another group cabled to inside properties, another group installed the internal fittings. A process taking almost two years.

This would have to set a record for lest well integrated IT construction project in the world.

... from the back of Burke


Fred Nerk, really? They installed a couple of FSAMs on a power pole? It must have been amazing to see. Did they just nail the ten thousand people up there or did they haul up all their houses as well?
I think is you are going to come up with some BS story to show the NBN is mismanaged you would find out what an FSAM is and that you can't nail it to a power pole.

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