Is NBN Co Fudging Rollout Figures… Or Not?

Whether or not NBN Co is hitting its targets is highly politicised issue right now, especially with the election upcoming. Reports say that NBN Co is shuffling its figures around to meet targets, but that's an accusation that NBN Co refutes.

Image: NBN Co

ITNews reported yesterday on the apparently fudged figures, noting that (according to its research) NBN Co has delayed fibre connections to some 69,500 premises within a month in order to commence construction in a greater overall number of cities, primarily in Queensland.

Speaking to The Australian NBN Co states that it's a matter of a constantly shifting schedule. NBN Co's Peter Ferris is quoted as stating that

"Dates for (passing premises) move backwards and forwards in this report depending on real construction progress, which can be affected by availability of connecting infrastructure, severe weather events such as floods or bushfires, or the readiness of underground conduits."

It gets more complicated after that, as ITNews has published a lengthy response to its original article sent to them by NBN Co. NBN Co isn't happy about the original story, but ITNews' position is that it's a matter of semantics; NBN Co's numbers have shifted around and it's not shocking that NBN Co isn't happy with the use of terms like "fudging" given the delicate political nature of the NBN process.

So is NBN Co fudging around figures or not? There's an obvious political angle to all this, and The Australian quotes Malcolm Turnbull's response to it, but it appears to me to be more a question of reassignment than actual obfuscation, given that the original report used publicly available figures. It's not that NBN Co shouldn't be subject to scrutiny. Indeed, given the costs of the project, scrutiny is important. Still, if you wanted to hide something, wouldn't you actually try to hide it? NBN Co fudges numbers to expand rollout and NBN Co responds to fibre delays analysis and Construction schedule changes 'haven't affected rollout' [ITNews and The Australian]


    A friendly aside from one language nazi to another:
    "an accusation that NBN Co refutes." probably should be "... denies".

      Wrong Kidman; I'm the language Nazi :)

        Good grief. I'm always getting my Nazis confused.

          For reference, I'm the Daleks-Can-Go-Up-Stairs-That-Joke-Is-Stale Nazi.

            I can see how people get the two types of Nazism confused.

    Where I live is a well off area that's been served by cable for more than a decade. That infrastructure will be rolled into the NBN. Currently no word on when. It's just an empty area on the NBN map.

    If they're worried about uptake. Switch over the nodes or whatever they have to do in area's like this. All of a sudden a huge number of people are using the NBN.

      The HFC network is not being rolled into the NBN at all, it is simply being switched off and customers will be given an NBN install instead of their cable modems.

      There is no useful part of the HFC networks for the NBN, since the topology of our HFC was geared around low cost TV delivery rather than high speed internet.

        well it still stands these area's are where you'll have a high uptake as everyone already has plans and used to it.

        An easier way to get a lot of people on it, than going into an area where there's always been shit internet, people aren't used to or actually knowing how to use Highspeed net, or used to paying for it.

    I have NBN past my house, and it as been for several months (Perth), and that is as far as it has gone. No connections, no communication.
    I wonder if NBNCo and Senator Conjob are claiming this as an install or delivery.

      "Senator Conjob"

      Methinks your political bias is showing.

    Fudging figures no don't be silly ... Its called 'De-scoping'. You know when the goals of release 1 that couldn't be achieved become the new release 2 and the former release 2 becomes release 3, etc, etc. How else do you think the goals for each phase are always on target?
    That's how most government projects work...
    Do you think government projects become overtime and over budget by accident? No it takes a lot of careful planing for that to happen.... - 'De-Scoping'

      True, except you can substitute 'large projects' for 'government projects'.

      I've worked on very large projects in both the private and public sector, and have seen no difference in the extent of budget over-runs. In the private sector, managers of disastrous projects rocket up the ranks with greater speed, but otherwise it's all much the same.

    I'm sure whats actually happening is they are turning up to towns like Newcastle and being chased away with pitch forks and french bread sticks by those scared of the internet. Of course you are going to re-task them and play with the numbers a bit.

    How many of the claimed satellite installations are brand new, and how many are the same old dish pointing at the same old satellite, with the bill just issued by someone else now?

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