nbn 2017 Corporate Plan Launch
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
26 August 2016, 9.45 am
E & OE
Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning. I think you will all recall that about this time last year, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow stood before you with an ambitious plan, which was to see three-quarters of the nation with the nbn by 2018.
It’s a plan that envisaged a doubling of the network year on year.
And one year on, the news is good. We have had the first doubling of the network successfully achieved. As you would have seen in the full-year results released last week, nbn is ahead on rollout and ahead of its financial forecasts.
The latest results, together with the Corporate Plan which we’re releasing today, shows three things. Three things about the rollout of the nbn under the Coalition, under a change of management and a team with a new attitude.
And those three things are that, first, the company has demonstrated it can meet ambitious rollout targets in pursuit of what is the biggest infrastructure project in the history of the nation.
The second thing it demonstrates is that nbn does have a robust, stable and transparent plan to build on the progress to date.
And the third thing is that the multi-technology mix has proven to be the right decision, seeing nbn roll out the network sooner, and at less cost to Australians.
The multi-technology mix I should dwell upon just for one moment. It gives nbn the flexibility to deploy the most efficient technology for a particular area and that flexibility is reflected in the corporate plan.
The approach also allows nbn to refresh or augment as it needs to, in the light of new, more cost-efficient technologies as they emerge and also as customer expectations change.
As I mentioned, the network is ahead of schedule and ahead of its financial targets. The activation run rate was 90,000 connections over the past month. And I mention that because you’ll remember that this was a ramp that Jason Clare said that even ‘Evel Knieval couldn’t mount’, and I do wish Jason well in the new challenge he has in his portfolio.
It’s important to recognise that this is an economically significant project. We spent a lot of time focusing on the means of the nbn, how it’s being rolled out; and we sometimes lose sight of what it’s all about, and that is delivering great economic opportunities for individuals and households and great social connection for people around Australia.
That’s why I’m really pleased that with the rollout to date, of the 3 million premises who can now access the nbn, 70 per cent of those are in regional and non-metropolitan Australia. So it’s a great story for regional Australia.
It’s ambitious, this project. This corporate plan indicates that nbn does have a sound and robust plan to mitigate the risks that are inevitable with a project of this size.
Everything that nbn said they would do in last year’s plan, nbn has done.
This year’s plan builds on that progress, and demonstrates that the company has indeed stabilised the project.
One year on, and peak funding forecast has remained at $49 billion. The upper-end of the peak funding range has decreased from $56 billion to $54 billion. And nbn management have done important work as manifest in the corporate plan to reduce risk.
From the outset, the Coalition has always said this is a big and risky project, a colossal challenge for the management at nbn, but the company is certainly producing the goods.
nbn’s successful transition to the multi-technology approach means that the Government can now provide updated guidance through a new Statement of Expectations for the company.
And that’s what we have done.
A revised Statement of Expectations will be released today in concert with the updated Corporate Plan.
The updated Statement doesn’t change the Government’s policy objectives for fast broadband.
Rather, the new Statement provides guidance on meeting those objectives while positioning the company for successful operations through the remainder of the build until completion.
The updated Statement is a milestone of sorts; it recognises that network completion is now in sight and that the company is moving to the next phase of the rollout. It does reflect the shift from just building, to also operating the network, and focuses more heavily on consumer issues, amongst other things.
In conclusion, I really want to acknowledge the work of Ziggy Switkowski and the Board of nbn; the incredible work of the management led by Bill Morrow and the entire team. This is one of the most dramatic corporate turnarounds in Australian history.
It’s for the benefit of the nation and I congratulate the team for all that they have done.
Thanks very much.