Sparks fly over NBN as Visionstream urged to ‘come out of hiding’
THE company overseeing the rollout of the NBN in Tasmania has been told to “come clean” on the status of the $300 million project.
Tasmania’s communications sector has urged Visionstream to “come out of hiding” amid concerns the NBN rollout has stalled.
The calls come as federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accused Visionstream of stopping work on Tasmania’s NBN rollout.
NBN Co has also confirmed the pace of the rollout has slowed.
Visionstream has consistently refused to comment on concerns being raised about the NBN rollout in Tasmania.
Yesterday the company did not reply to calls from the Mercury.
TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said yesterday “trying to get information out of Visionstream is like trying to draw blood from a stone”.
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“There will be endless speculation about the status of the NBN rollout in Tasmania until Visionstream finally comes clean on what is going on.”
Mr Winter said there needed to be a detailed public statement made about the company’s progress and its ability to complete the $300 million contract it signed last year.
“We’ve got an interstate company who have won the right to deliver the most important infrastructure project of this generation, but who seem totally disengaged with the Tasmanian community.”
An NBN Co spokesman told the Mercury yesterday NBN Co was in discussions with Visionstream about rates and costs.
“As a result, the pace of the rollout in Tasmania has slowed,” the spokesman said.
“We’re working to resolve this issue.
“This is in addition to the impact that the halt to remediation work on pits and pipes due to asbestos has had on the rollout. Visionstream is contracted by Telstra to carry out this work.”
The spokesman said 32,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania now had access to the fibre. Visionstream had been contracted to deliver to 190,000 premises.
Mr Turnbull told ABC radio yesterday work had stopped on the NBN in Tasmania.
Nine out of 10 Tasmanians did not have access to the NBN, Mr Turnbull said.
“The bottom line is that there was not one thing I could do to stop the NBN rollout in Tasmania — because it has been stopped,” Mr Turnbull said.
“At this stage Visionstream is not building anything. There is a serious problem there that we have to address.”
Yesterday Mr Turnbull stood by the pre-election vow that all existing contracts would be honoured, but raised concerns about Visionstream’s work.
“Visionstream, it was reported, signed a contract in March 2012 worth $300 million to complete the entire fibre rollout in Tasmania covering about 200,000 premises. That’s what NBN Co announced and that was to be completed by 2015.
“As far as we can see no work has been done by Visionstream for at least two months — they have basically downed tools.
“I am not saying we would dishonour or breach any contract, but at the moment nothing is being done under the contract by the contractor.”
Now let’s see how this new Liberal Government will sit back and ensure that Tasmanians will be denied the opportunity to get connected to the NBN via FTTH. Ok so I’m one of the lucky ones who has been able to get connected, but it looks like there’s a stalemate that the general public won’t be privy to the finer details. I just hope this contract is honoured (as Mr Turnbull claims)
Only time will tell… 😐
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