NBN Co, the company behind Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, has been awarded a $16.2 million contract by the Department of Defence for the rollout of its network to 400 Defence sites.
In March 2017, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Defence and NBN Co. This MoU seeks, amongst other items, to address the delivery and operational costs of implementing and operating NBN services at over 400 Defence sites.
This will result in “some elements” of the legacy copper landline network provided by Telstra to be decommissioned and Defence transitioning from Telstra's legacy network to the NBN network infrastructure. Defence bases are connected to this network for telephone and internet services.
The $16 million contract is for the period of November 2017 to June 2020.
According to a Defence spokesperson, the partnership between Defence and NBN Co started in the middle of 2015, when Defence started working with NBN Co and the Department of Communication and the Arts to advance the rollout of NBN services to Defence sites.
It was through that engagement that NBN Co gained a developed understanding of Defence security requirements, which helped to inform the NBN services rollout.
“Defence has stringent security requirements that cannot be compromised to protect our assets, information and most importantly, our people,” the spokesperson told ARN.
“These requirements mean that NBN Co [has] made substantial changes to [its] business systems and processes to fully accommodate Defence requirements.”
In late October, NBN Co announced a partnership with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to provide access to a “world-class” broadband network at around 400 Air Force, Navy and Army sites nationwide.
This project started in September 2017 using multi-technology-mix including fibre-to-the-node (FttN), fibre-to-the-basement (FttB), satellite, fixed wireless and fibre-to-the-premises (FttP).
At the time, NBN Co revealed that it had completed the bulk of the work to two priority sites in the NT at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal and Larrakeyah Barracks, incorporating HMAS Coonawarra.
After those were fully completed another 20 sites were to be rolled out before the end of the year.
In 2014, Telstra made an $11 billion deal to hand over its existing copper and HFC networks to NBN Co. As part of that deal, Telstra was also set to receive additional payments over time for long-term leases of associated infrastructure.
On 27 November, NBN Co said it would temporarily halt all new orders over its HFC access network, which uses Telstra’s legacy infrastructure, as it works to improve service standards across the network.