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Turnbull expects further NBN Co target downgrade

Shadow Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull has told parliament he understands that NBN Co will announce it won't meet its June target for premises passed.

In October last year NBN forecast it would pass around 300,000 premises by June 2013.

In February this year NBN Co downgraded this target due to construction delays from construction partner Syntheo.

"Now it's 286,000 and we understand they'll shortly be announcing they haven't been able to meet that target either. At that rate, it could take in excess of 20 years to complete this network," Turnbull told parliament today.

Report: What is the future of the NBN under the Coalition?

An NBN Co spokeswoman told Computerworld Australia that the company won't comment "on rumour and speculation".

"Our position remains that the NBN Co is working closely with its construction partners to address the issues they face as they roll out the National Broadband Network across Australia," the NBN Co spokeswoman said.

Turnbull's claims come amid speculation that NBN Co is expected to take over the physical construction of the NBN rollout from Syntheo in the Northern Territory, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.

Turnbull again attacked NBN Co for an alleged lack of transparency as the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network's (NBN) fourth report was tabled in parliament today.

"It is not good enough to have a wholly owned government business with a financial disclosure culture that would do the Kremlin proud," he said.

"This should be the most transparent [and] the most accountable telecoms company in Australia, but you can find more information now about any [of the] other listed telecoms companies in Australia from Telstra down than you can about this one.

"It is being treated as though it is some sort of secret agency in a black box and the only conclusion we can have is they're not prepared to face up to the fact that this infrastructure project is failing. It is failing to deliver the job. It is failing to connect households."

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, chair of the committee, lambasted the committee for becoming more about party politics than about the roll out of the NBN in his forward in the report.

Today he said that a fifth report was in danger of falling prey to party politics.

"I have four children and this is the fourth report of this committee. Like children, you have easy births and difficult births. This [fourth report] was a difficult birth," he said.

"As chair I am not confident we can do [a fifth report]. We are starting to fall onto political party lines in election season and there is a danger we will just deliver a compendium of policy platforms. I hope I'm wrong."

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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