NBN launches simulation labs to help train field workforce

New facilities launched at TAFE NSW campus in Lidcombe

New facilities will help train the telco technicians responsible for hooking up homes and businesses to the National Broadband Network.

TAFE NSW’s Lidcombe campus will host the NBN Network Simulation Labs. The labs will help train more than 2000 field technicians involved in deploying and activating connections on the new network as well as remedying NBN faults.

The facilities are funded by NBN’s Industry Capability Solutions Program, which began in 2015.

The company in August of that year announced it would invest $40 million on training and awareness campaigns to help boost its construction workforce.

NBN’s chief network engineering officer, Peter Ryan, said there are more than 30,000 workers in the field helping roll out the new network.

“Today’s launch coincides with the peak build phase of the network with up to 100,000 new Australian homes and businesses being added to our footprint each month,” the NBN executive said in a statement.

Additional training facilities are expected to be launched across Australia this year.

“There are lots of complexities which come up when working on a live network that can impact the way a technician needs to complete an installation or fix a fault,” Ryan said.

“The benefit of these labs is that we can program problems and challenges for workers to deal with before they get out in the field. They can immediately see how their actions impact a live network and can start building their expertise from day one.”

The first edition of NBN's new monthly progress report revealed that the number of ‘right first time’ installations had increased from 87 per cent in February 2017 to 89 per cent in February 2018.

The report also revealed that the percentage of faults that NBN resolved within the timeframes agreed with retail service providers rose from 72 per cent to 85 per cent over the same period, although faults per 100 homes or businesses grew from 0.9 to 1.     

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of new research released by the Australian Communications that revealed a significant portion of end users on the new network are unhappy with how complaints are handled.

Figures released by the ACMA showed that among households that had made an NBN-related complaint and had it resolved, around a quarter were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with how it was handled.

The time it took to fix a problem or take action was the number one cause of dissatisfaction, the ACMA report found.

Earlier this week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed it had seen a significant rise in NBN-related to complaints.