NBN rejects copper criticism

Cost of copper remediation already factored in to corporate plan, NBN says

NBN has rejected criticism of the company’s ‘multi-technology mix’ roll out of the National Broadband Network, after the company suffered a barrage of attacks in the wake of an internal document being leaked to the press.

The document first reported by The Australian reveals that NBN expects to spend $26,115 for copper remediation for each node in its fibre-to-the-node network.

In the 2013 strategic review of the rollout, copper remediation was estimated to cost $2685 per node.

The leaked document is dated March 2015.

The release of the document follows the leak of late last month of a presentation that revealed NBN may overbuild elements of Optus’ HFC network because it is not “fully fit for purpose” in all areas.

The leaked document on copper remediation shows that NBN and the government “got their assumptions about the cost of rolling out the fibre-to-the-node network massively wrong,” the opposition’s broadband spokesperson, Jason Clare, said in a statement.

The costs of copper remediation were included the corporate plan, NBN said in a statement today.

“With 550,000 fibre-to-the-node premises now in construction and a further 40,000 able to connect, NBN is confident that the cost per premises for fibre-to-the-node, as outlined in the Corporate Plan, is accurate,” the statement said.

NBN’s updated corporate plan was released in August.

Read more: What will the NBN really cost?

It revealed that the network rollout is expected to cost more than anticipated.

NBN's operating plan, from which the corporate plan is derived, estimates peak funding for the rollout at $46 to $56 billion, with the company's management aiming for $49 billion.

The 2013 NBN strategic review concluded that a 'multi-technology mix' network could be rolled for $41 billion.

The corporate plan also stated that the quality of the copper network “is not fully known as there has been limited opportunity to evaluate the physical infrastructure at significant scale."

“As released in August this year and discussed at length, NBN has a comprehensive plan built from a true history of actuals and experience in building the network at scale,” NBN’s statement said.

“Risks and mitigation plans for the network are outlined in the Corporate Plan, and the revised peak funding figure takes these scenarios into account. We have produced a peak funding range and provided a contingency, as prudent measures to manage a project of this size and complexity.”

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