Australia’s super fast National Broadband Network (NBN) is ironically super-slow to rollout and, as costs rise, an internal report obtained by Fairfax Media has revealed that it has fallen two-thirds short of its benchmark construction timetable. While nearly 1.5 million premises should have been approved, only 662, 665 have been given the go-ahead thus far. With this in mind, the motto “Fast. Affordable. Sooner” now seems to be somewhat of a contradiction.
The report detailed a serious lag in the $46 billion project, with issues seeming to heighten once Malcolm Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott in September last year. It also outlined that 59% of the delays were due to interrupted power approvals from electricity companies, 30% due to material shortages and 11 % because of completion reviews.
The report was never intended for the public eye and The NBN has rejected claims that the company is incapable of meeting targets. In a statement they said, “The company’s management has proven repeatedly that it can effectively monitor and manage those risks. This is an incredibly complex project unlike any infrastructure built anywhere in the world.”
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield confidently reiterated, “By the end of this year, the NBN will be upgraded in 1 in 4 premises and by the end of 2018 it will have extended to 3 in 4 premises.”
However actions speak louder than words – and the report indicates that the days of ‘fast internet nationwide’ seem farther away than we thought.
In a country so intrinsically linked by The Internet and social media, we hope that the Turnbull government can ‘turn’ this delay around sooner, rather than later.