NBN will be complete by mid-2020 within revised budget says CEO Stephen Rue
The $51 billion National Broadband Network will be completed on time and within budget by mid-2020, according to the project’s chief executive Stephen Rue.
The NBN is now in its most critical phase with the completion deadline looming and growing concerns the cut-price model might be superseded by the rollout of the 5G high speed mobile network.
But Mr Rue is defying critics of the NBN with strong financial results for the year to June 30, which show the network is now 85 per cent complete compared to 75 per cent a year ago.
“We’re very confident about the completion of the build by June 2020. This year alone, we made three million premises ready to connect,” Mr Rue told the ABC’s AM program.
Total revenue for NBN Company is up 43 per cent to $2.83 billion with earnings before tax of $608 million compared to a $103 million loss in the previous financial year.
The NBN now has 5.53 million customers, up 37 per cent, with improved revenue per user of $46 and improving levels of customer service.
The rollout of the NBN has been plagued with complaints from households and business, some of which have been investigated by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
Mr Rue says the NBN Co is working with retailers to resolve problems that have harmed the NBN’s reputation.
“I hate it when people don’t get a good service. We recognise that there is more work to be done in working with retail partners to provide better customer service in accordance with community expectations,” Mr Rue told AM.
Mr Rue played down concerns that the NBN was discussing the option of premium services with retailers for special bandwidth to ensure the smooth streaming of high definition video from services such as Netflix.
“We want to ensure that consumers get an excellent experience and that was part of the consultation process,” Mr Rue said.
The NBN was initiated by the Rudd Labor government with an original blueprint to roll out a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service to approximately 98 per cent of premises by June 2021.
However, the Abbott government with then-Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull dramatically changed the rollout plans to include a mix of technology including fibre, satellite and copper wire.
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