NBN Co's prime contractor in South Australia has listed the rollout of the National Broadband Network as a "code red" risk to the management of electricity network services in the state. SA Power Networks, which won a lucrative NBN contract through its commercial division Construction and Maintenance Services in July, has previously denied the rollout would have any impact on consumer services.

An internal Network Management Strategic Plan obtained by The Australian shows that "resources to rollout of NBN to overhead structures" risk having a "significant impact" on network management. It is listed as a code red "critical issue", and as having the highest level of urgency for the company. The rollout is listed as a higher level risk to the organisation's network management than bushfires and ageing assets.

The warning comes after NSW network provider Ausgrid called on the industry ombudsman to investigate the impact of NBN Co's proposed use of overhead cables on the safety and reliability of power supplies. The provider warned that electricity consumers were being "forced to cross-subsidise the rollout of the NBN". {The Australian, 31 October 2013, page 2}

Who’s gouging who? Minister Conroy claims the
O’Farrell Government is trying to gouge the Australian taxpayers when in reality NBN Co is hell-bent on stringing overhead the next-generation of telecommunications infrastructure, intended to carry lifeline communications, held up on old-generation electricity poles that are all-to-often rotting in the ground.

On 15 October 2012, the City of Sydney resolved to
investigate the feasibility of placing overhead telephone and communications cables in the City of Sydney underground in conjunction with the roll out of the Federal Labor Government’s National Broadband Network”. Also see here for more background.

On 10 August 2011 the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy released proposed amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-Impact Facilities) Determination 1997 and the Telecommunications Regulations 2001 for public comment. The proposed amendments include granting NBN Co the power to deploy aerial/overhead cabling without having to obtain state, territory or local government planning permission.
Proposed regulatory changes to facilitate the rollout of next-generation broadband infrastructure

Media commentary on that proposal:
Bid for greater NBN roll-out power too much to bear?
Proposed NBN laws to bypass state rules
New NBN powers let rollout bypass planning laws

Dr Ross Kelso warns that the federal government's plans to connect a quarter of the National Broadband Network via exposed overhead cables will place communities at increased risk from bushfires, floods and cyclones.
Cables ‘at risk’ from fires, floods

A detailed submission to the DBCDE responding to the Minister’s proposal to negate the existing state, territory or local government planning powers.

The mayor of Sorell, one of two towns to receive second-stage NBN fibre in Tasmania, has warned that NBN wiring strung overhead could cause problems down the track as her council attempts to underground the electricity infrastructure in the area; further, who would pay for the NBN to be relocated (underground) in the future, she asks?
Tasmanian NBN cabling stays overhead


> in Tasmania

Photos: building Tassie’s Scottsdale NBN

> in Townsville:

Test city’s switch-on due, but rebuild may be needed by Mitchell Bingemann, The Australian, 3 February 2011

NBN Fibre Optic Broadband Deployment in Townsville NBN Co Press Release, 4 February 2011.

> in Kiama:
NBN power pole plan concerns residents by Ben Langford, Illawarra Mercury, 4 February 2011

Overhead cables make nonsense of NBN by Amos Aikman, The Australian, 9 February 2011

> in Armidale:
Pipe dreams of a faster future by Katharine Murphy, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 2011


Minister Welcomes IBM Smart City Award for Townsville Media Release, Senator Stephen Conroy, 10 March 2011

The Minister says “Townsville is also one for the first cities on mainland Australia to receive the National Broadband Network, which will allow it to position itself at the forefront of the digital economy”, however the electricity poles to which the NBN was attached were blown over by cyclone Yasi!

How smart is that? (see first & seventh comments)

NBN switched on in Townsville (see first comment)


NBN fibre cables held up pole in cyclone by Josh Taylor, ZDNet, 19 April 2011

Dark Days for Cyclone Yasi's powerless victims by Natasha Bita and Michael McKenna, The Australian, 9 February 2011


Dump NBN for underground power, says Langbroek by Marina Freri, Delimiter, 8 February 2011
Underground power better than NBN: Queensland opposition , PCWorld, 8 February 2011


Quigley updates the state of the NBN ABC Lateline, 10 March 2011 {refer to tenth statement by Ticky Fullerton & Mike Quigley’s response}


‘Australia All Over’, Sunday 20 February 2011 about 9.06am