The Western Australian (WA) Government has pointed to “opaque responses” and poor engagement by the company behind the National Broadband Network (NBN) as being behind an “inconsistent” rollout of the network in the state.
The state Government said in its submission to the Parliamentary committee undertaking an inquiry into the rollout of the NBN that nbn’s “low level” of engagement in the preparation for the network’s rollout and poor coordination with state-level service delivery is costing its agencies time and money.
According to the submission, WA’s Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) has attempted to engage with nbn on multiple occasions, with a view to ensuring the rollout is aligned with service priority areas, and the process well-coordinated throughout the state.
“Unfortunately, these attempts to streamline rollout and generate mutually beneficial outcomes have been met with opaque responses and limited engagement from [nbn],” the state Government said in its submission.
Going further, the WA Government said that the “limited scope and depth of engagement over the length of the project is not conducive to such outcomes at a state level”.
“As a result of less than ideal engagement with Western Australia, the NBN rollout has progressed in a patchwork and inconsistent manner, often with poor performance, and low levels of sign-up for NBN services as a result,” it said.
WA agencies have indicated that, in areas where they have attempted to work with nbn, it has been difficult to get information from the company in a timely manner, if at all.
“Agencies now report that they are reticent to engage with NBN unless strictly necessary – this despite expressing a clear need for reliable, high speed connectivity for their services,” the submission stated.
According to the WA Government, difficulty in engaging directly with nbn on specific deployments is further compounded by limited access to NBN rollout information in general.
“The information provided on the [nbn] website frequently changes, and in some instances, whole categories have been removed with no notice,” it said.
The WA Government’s submission adds weight to a seemingly growing chorus of complaints over the network’s rollout from state and territory governments around Australia.
In March, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Andrew Barr, pitched in on the rollout of the NBN, suggesting that, in its current form, it would not meet the future needs of the territory.
“The experience in the ACT shows that the current NBN rollout schedule is not best suited to meet the needs of our community,” Barr stated in his submission to the inquiry, dated 28 March.
In June, the City of Adelaide lamented the network’s sluggish arrival in the South Australian capital.
“The City of Adelaide is only 15.5 square kilometres, yet the rollout of the fibre network is planned to take some two years,” chief advisor to the City of Adelaide, Steve Harrison, told the Parliamentary committee reviewing the network’s rollout, in a public hearing on 27 June.
“We respectfully suggest that this is not agile or fast enough to allow out city residents and businesses to be globally competitive,” he said at the time.