NBN Co to change the way it expands and upgrades its wireless network

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NBN Co to change the way it expands and upgrades its wireless network

Stands up a new panel of partners.

NBN Co is setting up a panel of partners that it will ask to handle fixed wireless upgrades and new site builds.

The change was revealed in a since-removed recruitment advertisement last week, which suggested that “a significant project is currently underway in the FWSAT [fixed wireless and satellite] team, which will see the establishment of a new multi-delivery partner model, which will include new delivery partners, systems, tools and processes.”

While the phrasing of “multi-delivery partner model” is somewhat open, it is believed this does not mean that NBN Co might try to source future fixed wireless services from third-party cellular operators in future and rebrand those services as ‘NBN’.

Such an operating model has previously been flagged as a possibility in the satellite footprint, and local infrastructure players have expressed interest in facilitating ground connections if NBN Co does go down that path.

In this case, however, NBN Co is looking to change the way it resources “effective and efficient upgrades for all fixed wireless network sites” as well as the construction of any new sites.

iTnews understands that NBN Co has set up a new panel arrangement for design, site acquisition and build services and populated it with delivery partners experienced in wireless deployments and services.

The project has been running in parallel with NBN Co’s existing model for the past six months, and the new model is expected to go live in the near future.

The panel arrangement appears to have a cost containment purpose, or at least fulfil a desire from NBN Co to create a competitive bidding process for upgrade and build work.

The advertised role notes that the company is looking for “effective cost controls between design and build” and that it is “looking at ways to reduce overall project costs and also make decisions in relation to whether deployment of sites should proceed ahead based on the design solution.”

The advertisement indicates that future upgrades or new builds could be made more cost effective by attaching antennas to existing structures or poles.

The company expresses a desire to “develop effective design solutions, namely co-location and structural considerations, whilst balancing financial accountability to drive cost effective design solutions.”  

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