NBN Co has signed a three-year contract with SA Power Networks to roll out fibre broadband to 300,000 premises in Adelaide and regional South Australia.
The contract is “in addition” to and does not replace a previous contract with Syntheo signed in 2011 that is set to expire in November, an NBN Co spokeswoman said.
Under the contract, SA Power Networks will design and construct the local and distribution network running fibre from a local communications exchange through each street in a coverage area. The agreement includes options to extend the contract for two additional one-year periods.
Up to 400 people are expected to work on the contract at its peak, NBN Co said.
SA Power Networks, formerly ETSA Utilities, built the NBN first release site in Willunga, 47 km from Adelaide near the McLaren Vale. By June this year, 63.4 per cent of Willunga residents had active NBN subscriptions, NBN Co said.
The new construction contract comes during reported trouble at Syntheo. Last week, Service Stream requested an extension of its trading halt on the Australian Stock Exchange amid reports it was looking to offload its Syntheo joint venture with Lend Lease.
Syntheo has been a key construction partner with NBN Co for the rollout of the fibre network in several states, but it has struggled to meet its construction targets.
In mid-February this year, NBN Co downgraded its June 2013 target for the number of premises passed due to construction delays from the joint venture. Syntheo was responsible for passing 48,620 premises in SA, WA and the NT by June 2013 – 17 per cent of the 286,000 target for June.
The new contract was also revealed days after its chief Mike Quigley announced his resignation.
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