NBN Co has reported a $1.1 billion loss after generating revenue of almost $70 million in the past nine months.
New NBN Co chief executive, Bill Morrow, announced the third quarter results today and gave updates on the current rollout and the Fibre-to-the-node pilot on the Central Coast.
Telecommunications revenue rose to $38.5 million over the nine months, while the continued expansion of the network saw capital expenditure (excluding leased assets) increase to $4.9 billion and life-to-date operational expenditure rise to $2.4 billion.
On March 31, the network had passed 512,659 fixed line and fixed wireless premises, an increase of nearly 96,000, or 23 per cent over the previous quarter.
This has resulted in an average run rate over the quarter of more than 6000 combined brownfields and greenfields premises per week and around 1000 fixed wireless premises covered per week.
There were 166,642 premises with an active NBN service at the end of March, an increase of 27 per cent over the quarter. Fibre users (brownfields and greenfields) rose by 39 per cent to 111,035 during the quarter.
However, a third of brownfields premises (94,883 or 36 per cent) were unable to order a service despite being passed by NBN fibre.
The company has instructed contractors to install lead-ins and connection boxes to premises at the same time the fibre is being laid in the street. Previously these tasks were carried out separately.
During the quarter the number of activations for fixed wireless services increased by around 80 per cent to 11,673. The company also completed construction of a satellite ground station at Roma and the Telemetry, Tracking and Control Centre at Alice Springs.
In terms of the core network, NBN Co has now completed 113 of its 121 Points of Interconnect, and 80 per cent of the transit network has been built.
Morrow said the company's job was to open up the digital economy and close the digital divide.
"But there are a range of issues we need to address," he said.
"The primary focus for management has been on building the network rather than connecting families and businesses. We need to do both and we need to do them better.
“For instance, we are moving to a construction model that will see our delivery partners install lead-ins and connection boxes to the outside of a home as the fibre is being rolled out in the street.
He said the aim was to increase the number of homes and businesses that were more easily able to connect to the NBN when it becomes available in a neighbourhood.
“There is more to analyse, more to improve and much more industry collaboration needed but we are making progress as evidenced by the metrics we are reporting today.”
According to a company statement, the renegotiation of the Definitive Agreements with Telstra is progressing well.
NBN Co is conducting Fibre to the Building trials in central Melbourne and Fibre to the Node build pilots in both Umina, NSW, and Epping, Victoria, in order to test construction methods and the end user experience ahead of a widescale rollout of additional access technologies.
The first in-premises technology test of Fibre-to-the-Node at Umina on the NSW Central Coast delivered raw download speeds of 105 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 45 Mbps covering a distance of around 100 metres.
Morrow said this was an important milestone.
“It demonstrates that existing technologies such as the copper network are capable of playing a vital role in delivering high speed broadband to Australians,” he said.