The list of new places that will gain access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) over the next 18 months that was released today makes interesting reading. One of the most interesting aspects? All the reasons why the revised deadlines might not be met.
Picture: Stephan Ridgway
One of the arguments in favour of the multi-technology mix (MTM) approach now being used by the NBN is that it should make deployment quicker. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots of potential reasons why the project might be delayed, both with the June 2016 target for the new rollout and for the broader goal of connecting eight million premises to the NBN by 2020.
These are the reasons highlighted in the announcement that could lead to a delay for NBNCo:
- The schedule doesn’t yet include HFC (the existing pay TV cable network) or the long-term satellite plans.
- One reason that is on everyone’s mind: NBNCo hasn’t yet reworked its agreement with Telstra to reflect to shift to the MTM approach. Until that happens, no-one really knows how long the project will take — or how much it will cost. As the announcement puts it: “NBN Co is planning a wide-scale commercial rollout of multiple technologies using existing networks in 2015. This is subject to reaching agreement with Telstra and Optus on changes to the Definitive Agreements.”
- “The technology deployed in these communities may also change depending on a number of factors once the construction planning stage has been finalised.” In other words: this stuff is very unpredictable, especially in terms of attempting to using vectoring on copper networks.
- “The exact number of premises as well as the regions covered in the rollout plan may vary once NBN Co has finalised its construction planning.” So don’t count your Ethernet ports before they hatch.
It’s not unusual for a project of the NBN’s magnitude to experience delays. That list reminds us that switching from FTTP to FTTN doesn’t eliminate that possibility.