NBN Co's Morrow promises 'aggressive' push to connect homes

UCG contract to remedy Service Class Zero gap in rollout

So-called 'Service Class Zero' premises — homes and buildings that can't connect to the National Broadband Network despite fibre being run down their street — will be targeted under a 'bulk drop' contract between NBN Co and Queensland-headquartered Universal Communications Group.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow told 936 ABC Hobart that UCG's target for connecting Service Class Zero premises is "quite aggressive".

"We're too early to determine exactly how long it's going to take to collect and fix all of these but it is something that we consider a priority," the CEO said.

In Tasmania 40 per cent of homes are in the process of being connected to the NBN compared to 15 per cent nationally, Morrow said. Ten per cent of homes in the state are already connected to the network.

The bulk drop contract covers single-dwelling units (premises that are occupied by only a single business or household) in parts of the ACT, NSW and Tasmania.

"The new contract extends UCG’s capability to single-dwelling units predominantly private households," UCG CEO Ralf Luna said in a statement.

"We are particularly proud of our Tasmanian operations. We've been active in the state since 1995 and this new contract will allow us to more than double our workforce from the current number of around 105 by employing local people and engaging local businesses."

"Our job is to enable every home and business in Australia to connect to the NBN, but there is a significant backlog of premises passed by fibre that are not yet serviceable," Morrow said in a statement.

NBN Co has shifted to a "premises serviceable" metric for measuring the network's rollout. Previously it relied on "premises passed" to highlight rollout progress. The premises passed metric counted homes and businesses in areas where fibre had been laid that could not connect to the NBN.

The new measurement indicates how many premises can actually order an NBN service from a retail service provider.

NBN Co aims to have NBN services available to some 1 million homes and businesses in financial-year 2014-15, up from 552,000 in FY 2013-14.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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