by Byron Connolly

?Fiber Corp execs lash NBN

Feb 09, 2017
Technology Industry

Fiber Corp’s CIO, Joel Clarke, has attacked the NBN, claiming there’s something wrong with the service when 60 per cent of people who can get it are using non-NBN networks or “communicate using tin cans and a string.”

Clarke is referring to the fact that the NBN has reached almost 4 million premises but has only activated 1.6 million services, meaning less than two thirds of potential customers who can get the NBN want to use the service.

NBN Co this morning announced that 3.8 million premises are now able to access the national broadband network and it is almost halfway to its target of 8 million by 2020.

The company also reported a net loss of AU$1.83 million for its half year ending December 31 on revenue of AU$403 million, a result that Clarke and Fiber Corp’s chief executive, Sam Scoutas, both highlighted in statements released this afternoon.

Clarke said not only has NBN failed the Australian public and business by not delivering fibre-to-the-home to brownfield or new buildings under 100 dwellings, it “managed once again to cost the Australian taxpayers $1,830 million in net loss, or 326 Ahmed Fahour’s [CEO of Australia Post].”

“When asked, NBN’s CEO Bill Morrow labelled the financial results ‘impressive.’ I agree, it’s impressive he still has a job,” Clarke said.

Scoutas got in on the NBN bashing, saying he has made it clear that the NBN has a significant amount of work to be done [to connect] residential homes and rural Australia.

“They are in desperate need for infrastructure improvements in this country,” he said. “But it is unacceptable that organisations in the private sector such as Fiber Corp, Opticomm and the like are competing with the government for work in the high rise and broad acre sector. Why? The excuse is cash flows but the losses have been increasing for NBN Co since inception,” he said.

“The federal government then introduces a levy which will not make a dent in the $1.8 billion loss.”

Under the government’s proposed Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS) draft legislation, non-NBN network providers will be charged a levy to prop up NBN’s fixed wireless and satellite rollout. If Parliament passes the legislation, it is expected that the levy will raise at least $40 million from non-NBN networks in the first year.

Fiber Corp has lobbied the government and NBN Co to allow all compliant and levy participating ‘super fast carriers’ to be part of the national broadband network and enforce aggregation of NBN Co to assist with offsetting any additional costs of the levy to the wholesaler, RSP and consumer.

Fiber Corp previously said this would reduce the cost associated to RSPs by enabling any RSP to connect to any compliant super fast network and access any super fast ports across all carriers including NBN Co.

“I am still shocked that having offered a solution to the Australian government, which reduces the burden on the taxpayer can achieve greater results than NBN Co. Fiber Corp was informed that it and its competitors were playing for a small percentage of the market,” said Scoutas.

“At what point does the financial result of NBN Co matter? At what point will they be judged on their performance to the end users of Australia? Why is the speed of internet and its convention factors not reported to the Australian public?

“It is clear and obvious that all is not as it seems with NBN Co and the public deserves some answers,” he concluded.