The NBN is delayed — but we already knew that. It appears, however, that the problems underlying its partnership with private firms to roll out the NBN’s fibre have been known about for quite some time.
The Australian Financial Review reports on confidential working documents that purportedly show a toxic working environment between NBN Co and its contractors, with a lot of blame shifting and potential issues even with existing rollout infrastructure.
According to the report, NBN Co has been aware of issues with providers since late February, despite NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley telling a Senate estimates committee a fortnight prior that everything was on track.
NBN Co’s documents state that all of its construction partners have issues, according to the report, with many having poor project management, lack of suitably qualified staff — with some suggestion that some providers aren’t paying enough to attract the right workers — and an alarmingly low series of projected rollout rates. Despite this, many of the same contracted firms have attracted high dollar contracts in recent weeks from NBN Co.
Things might just about to get a whole lot worse, too, with the ACCC due to rule this week on NBN Co’s access arrangements. If the ACCC rules that the special access undertaking isn’t valid, it’s another hurdle for NBN Co to overcome.