NBN reports progress but no timeline for HFC fix

Reveals 121 per cent revenue growth in 1H

NBN CEO Bill Morrow says the company is not yet ready to reveal a timeline for completing work on the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) portion of its network address performance issues.

NBN in November announced it would halt sales of HFC services for six to nine months until it could “calibrate a number of processes” and deliver higher quality connections using the technology.

Problems with HFC connections have been a “big contributor” to end user frustration with the National Broadband Network, Morrow said today.

“We’re now conducting upgrade work to improve the service quality on HFC and it’s still too early to be specific on timelines for releasing this footprint, but we are progressing quickly and I look forward to updating you shortly,” the CEO told a briefing on NBN’s first half results.

The chief executive said that although NBN had paused sales it had not halted HFC-linked construction work.

“That is continuing at pace and we’re tracking well on declaring premises ready for service,” Morrow said.

“HFC remains an important part of our technology mix and we’re confident it will deliver the experience we all expect,” the CEO said.

It was a “tough call” to pause sales of HFC services but NBN “will not prioritise the speed of the build ahead of customer experience,” he added.

NBN’s chairperson, Dr Ziggy Switkowski, last year said that the pause could potentially result in the company missing its financial targets, at least in the short term.

Morrow said today that although it will have a short-term impact on NBN, he doesn’t believe the pause will have any “longer term implications” for the company’s ability to complete the network rollout by 2020 and meet its financial goals.

Revenue surge

NBN reported $891 million for the six months ending 31 December, up 121 per cent on the prior comparable period.At the end of 2017 the company had close to 3.39 million households and businesses with active services on the new network, out of almost 6.14 million able to order services.

The company reported an EBITDA loss of $1.38 billion for the half; discounting payments to Telstra and Optus to migrate users to the new network the EBITDA loss was $131 million.

The company revealed today that its push to increase the take up of higher speed plans is showing signs of success.

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