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NBN build 'gaining momentum' despite delays: Quigley
25/05/2012 - NBN Co boss Mike Quigley says momentum on the national broadband network is building despite the delays and setbacks in delivering on the government's $36 billion project.
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NBN Co has the task of delivering fibre-optic broadband cable to 93 per cent of homes, schools and business across Australia by 2021, with the rest to be provided by fixed-wireless and satellite services.
Quigley says NBN Co is "daily gaining momentum" in its build.
Changes to the assumptions in the initial corporate plan released in December 2010, due to several factors, were "not surprising", he said.
These included the assumption when the deal would be completed with Telstra, how NBN Co would implement the competition watchdog's decision on points-of-interconnect, how to execute the government's policy for new housing estates which was not finalised at that time and other policy matters.
He said much work had been done by the company since December 2010.
"So that we are now in a position to finalise an updated corporate plan, and submit it to government following board approval by the end of May," Quigley told the budget estimates hearing in Canberra on Thursday.
He said the new corporate plan would incorporate all of the policy decisions over the past 18 months, which would be consistent with NBN Co's 12-month and three-year rollout schedules released in February and March.
Connections on NBN's three technologies - optic fibre, fixed wireless and satellite - had increased to about 11,000 from 5500 in February, Quigley said.
Work had begun in areas with about 318,000 premises also, he said.
There were more 7300 activated services on the interim satellite services, with the long-term satellite project progressing well ahead of the launch in 2015.
The company's fixed wireless service was running a completed trial in Armidale, Quigley said.
"This is a significant milestone for us because it means that for the first time all three delivery technologies - fibre, satellite and fixed wireless - are now in operation," he said.
Quigley said the highest share of NBN fibre broadband connections, 37 per cent, was for the fastest speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download/40 Mbps upload.
He said only 18 per cent of active services on NBN Co's fibre network was for its entry-level speed tier of 12 Mbps download/one Mbps upload.
For 25/5 Mbps it was 35 per cent and 10 per cent for 50/20 Mbps.
"The data for April shows this trend is even stronger, with almost 50 per cent of new active services being on the highest speed tier," he said.
A challenge for NBN Co's planners was the accuracy of existing address files as it impact on nearly every aspect, from planning and designing the network, to building it and ultimately operating it, Quigley said.
The data inaccuracy meant NBN Co had to direct its contractors to walk down every street in every file to verify addresses.
"This is time consuming, costly and itself prone to error," Quigley said.
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