NBN Co contracts out $1.1bn of FTTN overbuild work

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NBN Co contracts out $1.1bn of FTTN overbuild work

Under $3bn program.

NBN Co is starting to contract out the overbuild of parts of the fibre-to-the-node network with full fibre, with four construction partners brought in to perform the work.

Four construction partners - Downer Group, Fulton Hogan Utilities, Lendlease Services and Ventia-owned Visionstream Australia - will handle over a billion dollars of work under what NBN Co is calling ‘the N2P Evolution’.

N2P is an abbreviation of 'node to premises'. It refers to a plan to overbuild half of the FTTN network with fibre at a cost of almost $3 billion.

Ventia was first to disclose Visionstream's deal yesterday, noting it had picked up $400 million of work.

Visionstream’s work runs over 2.5 years, “subject to work orders and volumes”, and covers Queensland, NSW and Victoria. The first work is set to occur “immediately”.

“We were instrumental in the delivery of the initial NBN build program and the subsequent maintenance of the NBN over the past decade, and we are looking forward to delivering this new program of work,” Ventia Group’s executive of telecommunications Tim Harwood said.

Downer EDI said today it had picked up N2P Evolution work that it expected to be valued at around $160 million.

It noted the work terms also cover 2.5 years but that there is a further extension option of two years possible.

Downer’s work will cover parts of NSW and Western Australia.

NBN Co named two additional contractors: Fulton Hogan Utilities, which will work in Western Australia and South Australia, and Lendlease Services, whose work will span NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

Any work in the Northern Territory and Tasmania would be covered by "existing NBN construction contractual arrangements," the company added.

NBN Co said in a statement that design and construction work had already commenced "towards the end of 2020 ... for the suburbs and towns that were announced in the first two upgrade tranches of upgrade activity", amounting to about 200,000 premises passed.

"The new [construction] contracts will cover design and construction activity for the balance of the 1.8 million additional premises to be made eligible for upgrades from FTTN to FTTP by 2023," NBN Co said.

“We are very pleased to work with these delivery partners to continue to evolve the NBN network and ensure more Australian homes and businesses can access the broadband services they need to remain productive while working and studying from home, and also to enjoy all of the entertainment and social benefits that high-speed broadband delivers," chief operations officer Kathrine Dyer said.

Fixed wireless panel

Downer also appears to have been appointed to a new panel arrangement that will perform work on NBN Co’s fixed wireless network.

The panel arrangement was first revealed by iTnews last week.

Downer said the initial value of the fixed wireless work was $60 million over two years, with two further extensions of two years also possible.

If NBN Co was to use both extensions, the total amount of work Downer might gain under the arrangement would reach as high as $120 million.

“Under this contract, Downer will deliver end-to-end design and construction services across NBN Co’s national fixed wireless network,” it said.

“Services will include network planning, site acquisition and design (SAED), construction, and integration activities to facilitate network capacity expansion, coverage expansion and transmission augmentations that will enable upgrade and enhancement of the network.”

An NBN Co spokesperson has been contacted for additional comment.

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