Anne Hurley, the CEO of the Communications Alliance, poses the question and supplies the answer immediately to, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It is no exaggeration to say that the task of getting the national broadband network (NBN) off the ground is huge. Hurley outlines progress so far and what we can expect.
So the saying goes and I can’t think of a better analogy for the much-anticipated NBN, itself a mammoth task. While there is much to do, Mike Quigley and his newly formed executive team at NBN Co have hit the ground running, identified their ‘first bites’ and set themselves some pretty aggressive targets.
By March next year, NBN Co hopes to have selected technology, designed much of the network, established a program office, obtained a carrier licence, signed vendor agreements and begun planning the rollout schedule.
It will also have come to an understanding with the ACCC on key definitions including the ‘wholesale’ nature of the network.
This progress is great news for an industry eagerly awaiting the NBN, yet it also means the industry has much work to do between now and March 2010.
Communications Alliance members have commenced their own ambitious works program and established an ongoing relationship with NBN Co to help keep them up to speed on the industry’s thinking. Our works program covers everything from the roles and responsibilities of NBN Co and service providers to the scope of wholesale services and technical and operational aspects, including the all important end-user migration.
Of course, as an industry body representing telecommunications carriers and service providers, content service providers, vendors, consultants, suppliers and business groups, we recognise there will often be more than one solution to the big issues we are addressing. In those instances we will present a menu of options and the ensuing consequences of each option for the NBN.
It is this highly detailed planning, one bite at a time, that will help inform NBN Co and assist it to deliver a practical network that meets the needs of its wholesale customers, our members.
The NBN is forecast to be an eight-year task yet the progressive nature of the rollout means the detailed planning and decisions taken between now and March will define the future of the NBN.
This is a once in a lifetime transformational opportunity and the industry has a short window to help shape the NBN. Get on board!