Double-up of work delays NBN rollout

The construction of Ballarat’s national broadband network is behind schedule partly because contractors connected infrastructure to streets but not properties.

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NBN Co corporate affairs account manager Mary Todorov told a Ballarat Technology Park breakfast on Tuesday that a backlog of customers seeking to connect to the NBN was due to a construction issue that could have been avoided.

Under NBN Co’s business model, a distribution network connects streets to NBN infrastructure and a local network connects the houses.

“We didn’t do the local network at the same time,” Ms Todorov said. “When you come back, you’re redoing that labour work. Because of the infrastructure and the historical ramifications, the cobbled streets, you may have to dig, and that requires specialists of different levels of delivery partnerships.

“If we had done that originally . . . we would have minimised those issues.”

Ms Todorov said that in future both networks would be built together.

“We’ve gained a lot of learnings and that has impacted other areas,” she said.

“We are remediating, we’re cleaning it up and we’re addressing it. We’re speaking to the council on a weekly basis to get this cleared up as soon as possible.”

She said the Ballarat region now had 31 fixed wireless sites servicing 900 people.

But she also said there was a three to six month backlog of orders.

“We certainly are busy with orders. We’ve got a backlog and that’s the reality,” Ms Todorov said.

She said Ballarat was at the forefront in Victoria when it came to the NBN and the community had “a very powerful tool” in its hands.

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