$100 million poured into Tasmania

NBN Co annual reports indicates additional funding on the way

NBN Co has revealed it injected equity cash of $100 million into its subsidiary, NBN Tasmania, for the financial year ending 30 June 2010, in its second annual report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

The Tasmanian branch of the National Broadband Network (NBN) wholesaler received advanced equity of $11.8 million, according to the report (PDF), the majority of which had been paid back to its parent company over the course of the financial year. Following the $100 million equity injection, NBN Co reported the subsidiary retained $65 million on the books, following the approximately $35 million spent to build the first three pre-release NBN sites in the island state.

While the budget for the first three sites was initially reported to have been about $37 million, both communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, and NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, said the company had come under budget about 10 per cent for the build.

NBN Co proper received a $350 million injection from the Commonwealth Government in 30 June 2010, and has so far received a total of $662 million following an additional injection prior to the Federal election in August. Quigley has indicated this additional funding will be drawn down by the end of the calendar year.

The new funding, and other funding requests, are expected to largely fund contracts for the NBN rollout, worth an estimated total of $2.139 billion. In an address to the CommsDay 2010 summit in Melbourne last month, Quigley outlined the contracts would encompass passive networking and optical transmission equipment, as well as tailor-made operating and billings support systems from an unnamed vendor.

Internal IT expenditure totalled $6.365 million for the 2009/2010 financial year. The report indicates the company has moved through three separate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, sharing those with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) as well as trying out Quickbooks, before settling on an Oracle ERP system.

NBN Co counted 207 staff members at the end of the financial year, but since the election has continued on an aggressive hiring spree.