Aussie manufacturers score NBN equipment contracts

Approximately 400 jobs to be created

Three Australian-based manufacturers are the beneficiaries of National Broadband Network (NBN) equipment contracts worth more than $1.6 billion.

The companies will supply what the NBN Co has defined as 'passive' network infrastructure, such as telecommunications cabling, to be used in the construction of the NBN during the next five years.

Victorian fibre optic equipment manufacturer Warren and Brown Technologies will supply optical distribution frames and sub-racks that will connect NBN Co equipment to external cabling under a contract worth $110 million.

Managing director, Neil Domelow, said in a statement that winning the contract justified the $5 million upgrade to its facility.

“This contract proves that our belief in the future of telecommunications fibre technology was justified,” he said.

International fibre optic cabling manufacturer Corning Cable Systems will supply fibre optic equipment worth $1.2 billion. The company's manufacturing site in Clayton, Melbourne, has supplied NBN Co with equipment in the past.

Managing director, Rainer Dittrich, said in a statement that Corning will invest $25 million in its Melbourne facility and expects to create an additional 300 to 400 jobs at the location.

A contract worth $300 million over five years for underground cabling went to Prysmian, a global manufacturer of telecommunications cabling with manufacturing facilities in Dee Why and Liverpool, NSW.

Prysmian Cables and Systems chief executive, Llyr Roberts, also said in a statement that 50 jobs would be created at its Dee Why plant.

“We then expect the flow on employment effect could be as high as 2:1, with extra jobs being created in transport and logistics, training and administration, as well as in businesses with end user applications,” he said.

Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, said that having the three companies involved in the NBN rollout will create jobs for Australian workers and increase local skills.

NBN Co CEO, Mike Quigley, said that part of its strategy was to make an up front purchase commitment to encourage suppliers to invest in their Australian supply chain.

“They can invest with confidence in plant, equipment, recruitment and training to meet the needs of our national project,” he said.

The contracts follow the announcement in June that Alcatel-Lucent was selected by the NBN Co as the initial strategic supplier for the gigabit passive optical network (GPON) and Ethernet aggregation equipment.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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