E & OE
morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for gathering. It doesn’t seem that
long ago that we were here for the last Corporate Plan.
we can see ahead of us in today’s Corporate Plan release that there’s a ‘big
switch’ that’s occurring in Australia’s communications sector.
the next year or so we will see nearly two million end-users switch their
broadband connection from legacy ADSL and HFC to nbn’s new network.
early in FY19 nbn will take over as the largest wholesale network in Australia
with more than five million services in operation.
before we focus closely on what’s changed in this year’s corporate plan compared
to the last, I just want to take you through the scale-up that has occurred
over the past two years. And why that is a standalone achievement which should
got to say, just because Bill and his team look relaxed, it doesn’t mean that
Australia’s largest and most complex infrastructure project, the nbn has been a
years ago, when we released a three-year plan to reach three-quarters of
Australians by mid-2018, the plan was derided by the then Shadow Communications
Minister as ramp-up that Evel Knievel couldn’t jump.
nbn has managed to achieve what some said was impossible, surpassing six
million ready for service, hitting its key targets across three full financial
years, and with a rollout completion date now firmly in sight.
scale-up in activation rates is equally impressive.
are more than five times as many users on the network today compared to just
two years ago. The nbn
is now switched on at 1,000 premises every working hour, week in week out. This
is the equivalent to switching on the entire city of Bundaberg in a single
the current run rate of 40,000 activations a week, nbn’s FY18 target to connect
two million more premises will be achieved. This is no mean feat.
behind the now routine weekly rollout figures, there is literally an army of
skilled field technicians, mum and dad contracting businesses, and nbn’s own
project managers, engineers and technical specialists making this network a
estimates the field workforce has now exceeded 24,000. That’s on top of the
6,000 people employed directly by nbn.
are some 2,500 Australian subcontracting businesses engaged either directly or
indirectly to construct, operate and maintain the network Australia-wide.
it’s fair to say is transforming the telco industry and its workforce. To date,
nbn has funded telco-specific technical training for over 2,000 workers
nationwide. And at least this number of workers will receive training this
there are the vendors providing the cabinets, the fibre, the electronics, the
cables, the termination devices, and all the other network equipment. Over 70
per cent of nbn’s procurement spend to date has been on local content – that
is, Australian manufacturing, construction, installation and support
activities. nbn will spend $6 billion this financial year on procured goods and
services, over 80 per cent of it locally.
thousands of Australian businesses are involved in creating what we know as
‘the nbn’. Like one I visited last year, Melbourne-based ‘precision
engineering’ firm Warren and Brown. Their 150 employees, mostly drawn from the
neighbouring suburbs around it Maidstone plant, have been kept very busy over
the last few years.
is a national undertaking extending down every street; spanning thousands of
square kilometres of land with fixed wireless; and beaming in from satellites
36,000km above the earth.
now, the nbn rollout is occurring at more than 1,500 work sites simultaneously,
from areas as remote as Cloncurry, to as densely populated areas such as
to give you a sense of the reach and complexity of the project, consider the
skill, coordination and expert oversight required to successfully complete a
integrity of every single design must be ensured. Likewise, the network must be
constructed to a uniform level of quality. The operating and business
interfaces which link nbn’s network to others must be seamless. And the
back-of-house coordination has got to be spot-on to activate and assure a
single nbn connection.
then scale that across tens of thousands of premises a week, across a range of
technology types, and reach into every corner of Australia.
mentioned earlier that a ‘big switch’ was occurring as nbn and RSPs migrate
millions of end users across to the new network.
consumers are busy making the switch, nbn as a business is also undergoing a
transition from a project and construction management company, into a wholesale
network operator. Now, some of the
processes that underpin that network operator role are still maturing and we
can see that in some of the issues which consumers are raising.
before I hand over to Bill, I do want to speak briefly about what the industry
and nbn are doing to make the process of switching to the nbn more
all recognise that households and businesses are highly dependent on their
internet connections and staying connected is vitally important.
week, I convened an industry roundtable involving nbn and RSP CEOs to secure
joint action to better support customers during the peak migration period.
itself already has a broad stream of work underway and — with the help of
retailers — consumers can expect more useful and practical information
explaining how to connect to the NBN and what to do if services aren’t meeting
nbn is taking steps to improve appointment-keeping and service continuity. A
clear example of this is nbn’s decision to complete lead-ins in HFC areas prior
to accepting orders. This process will allow nbn to more effectively manage its
order workload and appointment-keeping. It will also reduce the waiting time
between an order being place and the service being switched on — something
that’s particularly important for business.
is no doubt that the know-how nbn has gained from the rollout so far has led to
cost savings, process improvements, industry confidence, and greater certainty
will apply this same know-how this year to delivering the best possible
do want to take this opportunity to commend and congratulate Ziggy Switkowski,
the Board and Bill Morrow and the management team for the substantial and
significant success of the past year, and for nailing key milestones. This is
an important national venture and change from when we came into office to where
we are today is nothing less than one of the most significant turnarounds in
Australian corporate history.
 2.7 million premises activated as at 30 August 2017
compared to 485,000 at end June 2015.