NBN Construction Stalls

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Friday, November 1st, 2013
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NBN construction stalls again
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Work on the National Broadband Network has effectively stalled because of uncertainty over the network’s future as well as a backlog of work caused by Telstra’s asbestos remediation program, Fairfax media reports say.

Work on the National Broadband Network has effectively stalled because of uncertainty over the network’s future as well as a backlog of work caused by Telstra’s asbestos remediation program, Fairfax media reports say.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald says contractors hired by NBN Co have indicated construction due to start had been delayed from a previous start date of next month to early next year.

The reports follow moves by NBN Co on Wednesday to take up to 500,000 premises around the country off its construction schedule in areas where initial planning had started but construction had not.

“As far as we have been told, NBN Co are not releasing any work until the Liberal government does their 60-day assessment and works out which way they want to go” subcontractor Hasan Rifat is quoted as saying in the report.

“We are all finishing whatever construction work was given to us and were told the next release of fibre serving area module jobs would be in February or March.”

This comes despite previous assurances from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull that NBN Co would meet its contractual obligations whilst the company conducts a strategic review of the project.

A spokesman for NBN Co confirmed the network builder halted design work immediately after the election whilst the company remains uncertain about the future direction of the network bus says the issuing of designs will start again from next week and blames the construction delays instead on issues associated with Telstra halting work earlier this year to deal with asbestos on its underground pits and ducts.

The latest developments come amid further News Ltd reports the government has ruled out participation of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in building the network has been ruled out completely on security grounds.

According to the report, a letter from the Prime Minister to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten confirms the government is not seeking to lift a previous Labour government ban on the company’s involvement with the project citing security agency assessments which the letter says remain current.

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