Syntheo - a 50-50 joint venture between Service Stream and Lend Lease has called it quits after deciding not to extend its contract with the NBN Co to build the fibre network in South Australia and Western Australia.
The project which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sees as a major Labor Party infrastructure project is plagued by delays, poor acceptance and is set to cost over $60 Billion dollars.
The Australian newspaper said that the decision to pull out of the NBN will mean Syntheo will forgo more than $400 million worth of construction extensions over the next two years that are currently up for negotiation.
Sources close to the joint venture said the company had decided to walk away from the lucrative contracts because of ongoing problems with the rollout and onerous conditions in the NBN agreements that required Syntheo to take on more risk than it was willing to do.
Recently NBN chief executive Mike Quigley quit the project with observers now claiming that the latest exit "Is a real concern because there simply isn't enough people to build the thing. The only option for the NBN Co is to become a construction company in its own right and contract directly, but that will cost it a fortune," said one industry source.
For Rudd the problems associated with the NBN just keep rolling out. Last week several employees in Tasmania were laid off.