NBN Co has inked a $300 million construction and maintenance contract with Visionstream Australia for the complete rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Tasmania.
An NBN Co spokesperson told Computerworld Australia the four-year contract, with option for renewal over each of the following two years, is the first long term construction agreement for Tasmania and was the last hurdle in enabling the rollout across the state.
“What makes this contract different to previous ones in Tasmania is that it is for both construction and maintenance and an advantage of that is that it will aid the development of the local workforce as the core of the project will require ongoing support and maintenance.”
Under the contract, Visionstream, which was founded by Telstra and now owned by Leighton Holdings, will replace the existing copper lines with optic fibre to connect the remaining 190,000 premises.
“It’s appropriate that the state that was the first to be connected to the NBN will be the first where the rollout will be complete,” NBN Co chief operations officer, Ralph Steffens, said in a statement.
Visionstream also won a $19 million contract with the network wholesaler in December to build the first stage of its transit network following a tender process. The transit network comprises of rings of backbone fibre-optic cables that will connect NBN Co's central hub to fibre access nodes (FANs).
The company was one of the 14 construction firms involved in the tender process which was scrapped by NBN Co last April, along with Telstra, Transfield and Silcar.
According to NBN Co, the new contract will create around 800 new jobs during the rollout’s peak period due to the ongoing maintenance required, including upgrades.
The Tasmanian Government has also backed the rollout, announcing the allocation of funding to support the transition of workers from other industries into telecommunications.
Accredited training will be provided in Launceston, Burnie and Hobart to prepare workers for many of the “semi-skilled” positions required for the network rollout, which include earthmoving plant operators, labourers, road traffic controllers, lines workers and installers.
“Better broadband will not only create new opportunities for Tasmanians, it will also mean new jobs for the construction company, its suppliers and subcontractors, local businesses and entrants to the workforce,” Steffens said.
“The skills that will be gained from the accredited training programmes will not only support the construction of the NBN but can flow to other industries.”
The network roll out schedule is pegged for delivery shortly when NBN Co delivers its three-year roll out plan.
Tasmania is the final state to award a long-term construction deal with NBN Co awarding joint venture company, Syntheo, a $141 million contract to build the NBN in South Australia and the Northern Territory in November.
Syntheo also won the tender to build the fibre network in Western Australia in September.
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