[LINK] The NBN project - business as usual?

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Apr 8 09:26:57 AEST 2009

It is my contention that one of the most common reasons for a project 
failure is that the initial expectations, set at the time of the 
business case, are inaccurate, ill-defined or just pie in the sky.

Regarding the NBN, as usual, the expectations regarding time (8 years) 
and costs ($43b) have already been set. And, also as usual, the details 
of what is to be built are vague.

Referring to the government's press release at 
www.pm.gov.au/media/release/2009/media_release_0903.cfm it says:


The Government’s announcement today has been informed by expert advice. 
The Panel of Experts has encouraged the Government to invest in optical 
fibre technology, supplemented by next-generation wireless and satellite 
technologies. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has 
also endorsed the use of FTTP as a superior technology to Fibre to the Node.

The preliminary estimate is that the enhanced NBN network will cost up 
to $43 billion, which has been developed taking into account advice from 
specialist technical advisers.


Does anyone know who this panel of experts is? Do we know anything much 
about the technical details of the solution upon which the initial 
estimate of "up to $43billion" has been based? Have we seen any sort of 
implementation plan that takes into account such variables/constraints 
as the availability of skilled resources that can achieve the goal of 
"be expected to be rolled-out, simultaneously, in metropolitan, 
regional, and rural areas."? Are "technical advisers" appropriate to 
identify all the non-technical risks of a project like this and put in 
place appropriate mitigating actions?

At the moment, this project looks exactly like every other government 
initiative that ended up being late, costing more and not delivering to 
its expectations. I'm not suggesting it will fail, I just don't see 
anything different from those projects that have failed.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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