NBN Co sets up centre to prevent fibre rollout disruptions

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NBN Co sets up centre to prevent fibre rollout disruptions

Scopes warm servers for satellite ground stations.

NBN Co has set up a new facility in Melbourne to mitigate against any supply chain-related disruptions that could impact the rollout of its fibre-to-the-home network.

The existence of the facility is revealed in NBN Co's annual report (pdf), which was released late Friday last week.

Although the report refers to the facility as the Logistics Coordination Centre, an NBN Co spokeswoman told iTnews it had since been renamed as the Supply Coordination Centre (SCC).

It has been located within NBN Co's Elizabeth Street offices in Melbourne "so that it is close to the main construction team", the spokeswoman said.

"Its objective is to monitor the NBN supply chain for both construction and operations to mitigate against any disruptions," she told iTnews.

"It also includes space for key supply and delivery partners to base personnel given the many interactions required.

"The centre is supported by the development of IT systems to monitor and manage equipment orders."

The spokeswoman said the facility was currently operational and would likely grow as the NBN rollout ramped up.

Hot servers in satellite stations?

NBN Co's annual report also reveals that the company is scoping out 90 ways to make the design of its satellite ground stations more environmentally friendly, including running servers at higher-than-average temperatures.

The satellite project underwent "detailed facility and construction design workshops" during FY2011-12, NBN Co said.

From this process, an "ecologically sustainable development opportunities" study into possible sustainability initiatives was performed.

"The resulting report identified a number of initiatives that will be incorporated into the design, such as building design and energy efficiency measures," NBN Co's spokeswoman told iTnews.

"A number of other potential initiatives are undergoing further investigation."

Besides server temperatures, NBN Co is also looking into: the use of solar thermal absorption chillers to cool equipment; "remote switching access for domestic hot water, external lighting and HVAC systems"; and solar cells to generate electricity for the typically remote sites.

"These initiatives will enable environmentally-friendly operation of the satellite earth stations," NBN Co said in the annual report.

NBN Co has so far named locations for eight of the 10 planned satellite ground stations. Viasat will build the stations at a cost of $280 million.

Financial disclosures

Most attention around NBN Co's annual report has been around its financial disclosures for spending and executive remuneration.

The company reported operational revenues of $2 million and an operating loss of $520 million in the 12 months to June 30, a financial picture which it noted was "consistent with being in the start-up phase".

Of its expenses, $222 million were employee-related, $136 million went on "IT and direct telecommunication costs", and $89 million on "outsourced technical and legal advice expenses".

The report notes that CEO Mike Quigley declined a potential bonus of $335,160 for the year ended 30 June 2012, having similarly declined to participate in the company's bonus scheme in the prior financial year.

NBN Co paid out $642,132 in bonuses under its short-term incentive scheme in the past financial year.

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