NBN says it is still assessing the impact of a decision to put sales of hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) National Broadband Network services on hold.
“NBN is still working on our revised financial forecasts following our decision to temporarily pause sales on the HFC network,” an NBN spokesperson said.
Labor’s broadband spokesperson, Michelle Rowland, earlier today drew attention to a sensitivity analysis in NBN’s 2016 corporate plan that stated a seven month delay in HFC activations could have a $1 billion impact on the cost of the network rollout.
“The reality is this – Malcolm Turnbull is deploying a second-rate NBN that costs more and does less,” the shadow communications minister said. “It’s nearly 2018 and he still can’t make it work.”
Earlier this year in answer to a question on notice from a Senate Estimates hearing, NBN said: “A 7 month delay in the HFC rollout would result in 7 fewer months of HFC steady state revenues being received within the period leading up to peak funding.
“In approximated values, the Corporate Plan 2016 sensitivity was calculated based on a final 3 million HFC activated premises delayed for a period of 7 months at an ARPU [average monthly revenue per user] of $47.”
NBN’s CEO, Bill Morrow, yesterday said that the company would halt HFC sales for six to nine months while the company worked on addressing problems encountered by end users relating to service dropouts.
Unless NBN dramatically changes its rollout plans, around 3 million households and businesses will eventually have HFC connections. Currently there are 375,000 premises with NBN HFC connections and an additional 50,000 awaiting activation.
Communications minister Senator Mitch Fifield this morning rejected claims that the ‘multi-technology mix’ approach to the NBN rollout has failed.
“Every Australian is still going to the get the NBN,” he told ABC Radio. The network will still be completed by 2020, the minister said.
“What we have in the case of HFC is some technical issues,” Fifield said. “HFC as a technology isn’t [as] mature as fibre to the node or satellite or fixed wireless.”
“There’s no problem that’s been identified that can’t be fixed,” the minister said