NBN rollout back on track

THE rollout of the National Broadband Network will continue as planned for at least the next six months, despite the federal government casting doubt on the future of the project.

But there's no guarantee the 60 suburbs wiped off the rollout map when it was redrawn in September will be next in line to get the service, or, depending on the outcome of further federal government reviews of the project, whether they will be connected at all.

Visionstream, the contractor responsible for the rollout in Tasmania, said yesterday that it had ``clarified'' its position with NBN Co and would accelerate the rollout process.

``We look forward to continuing our current work to roll out this important infrastructure and collaboratively reviewing design and construction processes with NBN Co for more efficient and effective delivery,'' general manager Allan Bradford said.

Mr Bradford said the final project could also end up being cheaper than expected.

``We are working together with NBN Co to ensure that there is no additional impact on taxpayers,'' he said.

``In fact, part of what we are doing is looking at overall process improvement to gain efficiencies, and potentially reduce the currently published cost to rollout.''

The Examiner  understands another 30,000 premises could have access to the NBN by June next year, twice the rate of progress seen so far and bringing the total number of premises with access to 60,000.

However, it will have to increase its pace again to pass all 200,000 premises in the state by the March 2016 deadline.

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested last week that Visionstream was behind schedule and over budget on the $300 million contract, and that the Coalition's pre-election commitment to honour existing contracts would not apply if Visionstream did not fulfil its obligations.

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