NBN on track to reach million premises milestone

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NBN on track to reach million premises milestone

Losses climb as rollout grows.

Australia’s national broadband network builder is on track to meet its target of delivering one million serviceable premises and reaching $150 million in telecommunications revenue by the end of the financial year.

The company today said its serviceable broadband footprint had reached nearly 900,000 premises as of the end of the March quarter.

NBN’s telecommunications revenue cracked $100 million for the March quarter to reach $106 million, its strongest result to date.

The company also revealed it was adding new service premises to its footprint at a rate of 12,300 per week during the quarter, an increase on the 7000 per week it added during the same period last year.

NBN chief executive officer Bill Morrow was bullish when presenting the results today.

“Over the past three quarters we’ve surpassed $100 million in telecommunications revenue… to put that in perspective we’ve earned more money in nine months than over the entire history of the project up to that point,” Morrow said.

The company’s revenue growth slowed compared to the December quarter, which NBN chief financial officer Stephen Rue attributed to seasonal effects of the January holiday season.

Rue said the company’s CVC (connectivity virtual circuit) revenue had tripled during the quarter compared to last year.

The number of premises activated on the network hit 390,000 during the quarter - more than double the number of paying customers during the same period in 2014.

The company has also marginally reduced its average cost of connection in greenfield sites from around $3100 per premise in the June 2014 quarter to $2745 at the end of the March quarter.

Fixed wireless costs were also down marginally from $3724 to $3566 per premise over the same period, while brownfield costs remained stable at around $4300 per premise.

Overall, NBN’s losses continued to accrue as it grappled with the investment intensive phase of the project.

It reported a total loss of $1.4 billion during the nine months as its capital expenditure reached $2.2 billion.

Rue revealed total government investment in the network so far sat at $11.8 billion out of its commitment of $29.5 billion.

Decision looming on Telstra, Optus deals

The company was upbeat about recent developments concerning its infrastructure deals with Telstra and Optus, which are currently being reviewed by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The deals are critical to the success of NBN’s multi-technology strategy. Morrow today said he was confident the ACCC would provide a favourable decision on the Telstra deal within “the coming weeks”.

A decision on the Optus deal was expected within months, he said.

However, Morrow remained circumspect about NBN’s prospects of meeting its goal to connect 8 million premises to the network and generate annual revenue of $4 billion by 2020.

“To complete this nationwide build and have 8 million satisfied active end users by 2020 is no doubt a lofty goal. It's one that requires a step change from where we were and our results today are evidence of having done this,” he said.

"We know we’re on a journey and we know we have a quite bit longer to go.”

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