Senior NBN Co executives appear to have gone into spin doctor mode in an effort to defend what has been described as an “appalling” roll out of the national broadband network.After announcing last week that cities like Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Katherine will get the network ahead of densely populated areas close to Melbourne’s CBD or Sydney’s North Shore, the NBN Co has rolled out their C Level executives in an effort to defend their actions.
The network which is set to cost over $45 Billion dollars to build was strongly defended by NBN executives who failed to explain why the people and organisations that are expected to pay for the network were being snubbed.
The initial three-year rollout plan announced late last week by PM Julia Gillard, and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been described by Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull as “duplicitous” and ham-fisted”.
NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens – a German national who claims that he had a major role organising the building of a 15,000km fibre network commissioned by BT across Europe – told a media briefing in Sydney yesterday that he was confident the target of connecting 3.5 million premises in three years would be met, even if there is a change of government.
Reminded that Turnbull was demanding that the Government and NBN Co reveal–not just when work would start on the 3.5 million connections–but when they would all be connected, Steffens did indeed give a date:
“The 3.5 million connections will all be completed on average 12 months after we have started. You can clearly see that by June 2016, there will be 3.5 million [premises] connected,” he said.
Back to June 2016: by then, of course the Labour Government could have been out of power for the best part of three years. But a Coalition Government might be finding it hard to dismantle the NBN.
Its Ka-band satellites will be flying and probably very popular in the bush. The 3.5 million mainland premises – and every household and business in Tasmania – will have been constructed under tenders that have been legitimately let and can hardly be repudiated without long and costly legal battles.
Another 3.5 million may be on the way, perhaps with more contracts signed in 2013. Just imagine the outcry if residents and businesses in adjoining regions – which are sprinkled among the first-rollout regions – are told upon an Abbott government assuming power that they are doomed to keep last-century copper technology compared with their fibre-endowed near neighbours.
Already the conservative Victorian Government – once cool to the NBN – is fuming that, according to its estimates, Victoria is not getting its fair share of the 3.5 million rollout.
Some of the future squeals could come from quite close to home. Joe Hockey’s North Sydney electorate has been left out of the coming three-year fibre rollout – and that’s an area that includes the HQ of not only Fujitsu and Cisco – but also the Sydney HQ of NBN itself, where the press met yesterday. NBN Co without a fibre connection?
Word has it that the North Sydney building where the NBN operate from has already been connected to a fibre network.