NBN awards $1.1bn in contracts

14/07/2021 - 15:00

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Four companies, including Downer EDI and Fulton Hogan, have won new contracts from NBN Co as part of the provider’s move to update the network.

NBN awards $1.1bn in contracts
NBN has invested $2.9 billion to upgrade large parts of the FTTN network. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Four companies, including Downer EDI and Fulton Hogan, have won new contracts from NBN Co as part of the provider’s move to update the network.

NBN is planning to make its highest wholesale speed tiers available to about 8 million premises – or up to 75 per cent of homes and businesses – on the fixed line network by 2023.

The provider has invested $2.9 billion to upgrade large parts of the Fibre to Node (FTTN) network to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).

NBN says up to 2 million homes and businesses using the FTTN technology will become eligible for the upgrade to FTTP, on demand, by 2023.

It has awarded $1.1 billion worth of contracts – covering design and construction works – to Sydney-based companies Downer, Ventia and Lendlease Group and New Zealand-based Fulton Hogan.

Downer has been allocated two contracts, worth $160 million and $60 million, for services in Western Australia and NSW.

Work begins this month and will run through until December 2023.

Both contracts include two, two-year extension options.

The scope of services under the smaller contract includes planning, site acquisition and design, construction, and integration activities to facilitate network capacity expansion, coverage expansion, and transmission augmentations.

“With the major network build programs now complete, Downer is pleased to assist in the evolution of the NBN network,” Downer chief executive Grant Fenn said in an ASX announcement today.

“These two contracts consolidate Downer’s position as a key long-term NBN approved delivery partner, and we look forward to continuing our partnership and optimising the NBN network.”

Downer closed up 0.4 per cent on the ASX to trade at $5.52.

Fulton Hogan has been contracted to provide design and construction services in WA and South Australia.

Meanwhile, Lendlease and Ventia’s Visionstream division will complete similar work in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. Lendlease has also been allocated the contract for ACT.

CIMIC Group, which owns half of Ventia, revealed the $400 million contract in an ASX announcement on Tuesday. Its shares closed up 1 per cent to trade at $19.79.

“We were instrumental in the delivery of the initial NBN build program and the subsequent maintenance of the NBN network over the past decade,” Ventia's executive of communications, Tim Harwood, said.

“We are looking forward to delivering this new program of work.”

NBN expects the new contracts will create up to 10,000 jobs including for telecommunication technicians, fibre haulers and splicers, civil construction workers, engineers, designers, safety inspectors, and project managers.

The provider is also planning similar full fibre upgrades to customers living or working in premises serviced by the Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) technology.

NBN expects to initiate a small-scale launch to enable the first eligible customers to place orders with internet retailers for fibre lead-ins and higher speed services by the end of the year.

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