NBN Co correction: We're rubbish at broadband rollout and NEVER improved

No, wait, we mean that we did better work than our brilliant performance in Melton


NBN Co has issued a press statement assuring media that in spite of what looked like a favourable assessment of its fibre-to-the-premises rollout procedures, things really were dreadful until the new government commissioned the Strategic Review.

Or perhaps things weren't dreadful, but they're really, truly, definitely better now, trust us. Or something.

The to-and-fro began when Fairfax Media outlets reported, late last week, results of a fiber-to-the-premises rollout from the Victorian town of Melton. Its report, based on a leaked document, that revisions to technology and processes were yielding better rollout performance.

Fairfax reported that under previous CEO Mike Quigley, the company undertook a study in Melton in which it tried new technologies, revised rollout procedures, better contractor management, and a reduction in the number of visits to households.

As a result, the internal document asserted, it took only 104 days to rollout Melton, “compared with an average of 344 days in other areas”.

The allegation that new technology and a review of business processes led to better performance has outraged NBN Co. The network builder has issued a press release taking issue with the Fairfax article.

“This 'study', the reporter informed us, purported to show that the old all-fibre NBN could be rolled out in its entirety much sooner and far less expensively than had previously been envisaged,” NBN Co's media statement says. “The implication of all this was that, if this study was true, then it was unnecessary to have to transition the NBN to the multi-technology mix.”

Which is, of course, utter nonsense: “So the claims being made in the Fairfax report – and extrapolated out to the entire NBN project – are based on work in a single area that is atypical and which is employing construction methods that are not unique, they are already widely in use. It also required more oversight and more resources than usual to make it a 'success'.”

Even worse, Fairfax is accused of ignoring other successful rollout locations: “our construction crews tell us there have been rollouts elsewhere in Victoria which cost less per premises [than in Melton – El Reg] and which have had fewer design variations”.

Confused? So are we: in trying to refute the Fairfax story, NBN Co seems to be saying that its main point – that iterative implementations created efficiencies along the way – is entirely accurate.

The NBN Co release ends thus: “The absence of continual business reviews to drive efficiencies should call for headlines, rather than the implementation of such.”

Since the company has developed a thin skin regarding the accuracy of media reports, The Register will leave it to our erstwhile commentards to decide whether or not this is a swipe at the previous management. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022