When A Rollout Goes Missing

history-channel-hd-aliens-thumbLike an alien abduction, NBN Co’s site has mysteriously lost all future plans for the rollout on the “When do I get it?” map. Gone are the claims of “continuing the rollout until reviews are complete”, & being “technology agnostic”, the days of corporate back slapping & secrecy are upon us.

With the news that only “work commenced” projects will be shown on the rollout map as “active”/”build commenced” now & all other planned areas will not be shown at all, the NBN is fast becoming the white elephant that Turnbull warned us about, except he’s the one creating it.

Yes, NBN Co made an operating loss last year, guess what? Nobody cares. Losses were expected early on as the rollout was ramped up & users switch over. Don’t forget, the research conducted in Brunswick showed an alarmingly high rate of “want to swap to the NBN but can’t”, with many being locked into contracts by service providers who refused to swap them over to the NBN. Even with these challenges, the take up rate of the NBN has been far above what ADSL or ADSL2 was at in a similar stage of the rollout.

The idea that making a loss is instant proof that the project should be halted is laughable. You wouldn’t demand a company be shut down as a shareholder if they were expanding & made a loss would you? Losses are part of investment, sometimes you need to wear it on the chin to achieve a long game goal. This is something that the current government refuses to accept on many fronts, the biggest at the moment being their budget dishonesty.

NBN Co removing planned works from the rollout map at the same time as beginning negotiations with Telstra is concerning as this goes against everything Turnbull has promised since the election: technology agnosticism, continuing the rollout during reviews & audits, & greater transparency.

If anything, Turnbull has done more to slow the rollout down over the last 60 days than mismanagement, ambition, & asbestos laden plant has combined.

The key here is that Turnbull is being disingenuous when he states that the reviews are independent, that the CBA is independent, etc. Essentially Turnbull’s mates are doing him a solid one, you know, they have his back if he has a job for them. The conclusion is foregone, we know that Turnbull is going to renege on any previous statements, the same as he has reneged on his fiery speech from Woodford Folk Festival. It’s all just lip service to fool progressives into giving him the benefit of the doubt.

In fact, if we look at the rollout’s progress on NBN Co’s new Weekly Progress Report we can see that Turnbull reneged on his claim of continuing the rollout under existing contracts “as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible” while the reviews/audits continue.

Brownfields premises passed/activated/serviceable/class 0

Brownfields premises passed/activated/serviceable/class 0

The week Turnbull stated this there were 14 478 more brownfields premises passed, but somehow the following week there were 29 less premises passed, & the week after 7 less! This doesn’t sound like continuing the rollout at all.

Growth Data for Brownfields sites.

Growth Data for Brownfields sites.

In fact, the week Turnbull made this statement the rollout was actually ramping up with both over 14 000 more brownfields premises passed & over 8 000 more brownfields premises serviceable. The only growth has come from the premises activated category (people with a service), showing that there is indeed demand for the service.

Even greenfields deployments are suffering under the Turnbull’s changes to the NBN, bringing into question whether anything in Turnbull’s pre-election policy is going to be followed through.

Greenfields Growth

Greenfields growth is clearly slowing.

This is all without taking into account that NBN Co need to deploy, at minimum, 8000 VDSL2 services a day for the next 3 years to achieve the 2016 goal of 5.7m premises on FTTN.

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