NBN Co's rollout program includes design, construction, program management, construction management and scheduling activities for the nbn™ network.

Under this program we were tasked with rolling out the Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) network in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The vast program of works Ventia set out to undertake from 2018 in Victoria alone comprised over 120km of new pipe to be laid, 19,000 new pits, 3,600,000m of cable to be hauled and over 156,000 premises to be connected. With such a significant program of works ahead, the team's thoughts immediately went to how they were going to complete the breadth of the work within the program timeframe.

After attending a national workshop in Sydney with other Ventia teams that had previously worked under a similar operating model, Ventia's Victorian team realised it wasn't only the physical aspects of the work that were going to present a challenge. The reporting and substantiation necessary for the program to meet the client's requirements was also extensive.

Ventia team laying NBN cable

In rethinking how our team would approach the program, two main focus areas were identified: structure and systems. 

A program structure was needed that was robust and supportive enough so that there would be no single points of sensitivity that could result in delays or failures, but it also needed to be flexible enough to enable adjustments and changes as different pressures arose or were applied during works. 

The solution was to split the work allocation up into five different geographical areas across Victoria and assign a project team to each one, consisting of supervisors, engineers and designers that could manage the build and the reporting from end-to-end. The five locations covered Central Melbourne, Hawthorn, Greensborough, Clayton and Scoresby. 

To retrieve up-to-date and accurate data from the field, Ventia utilised a low cost, easy-to-use mobile form data collection system so that reporting to the client occurred effectively and accurately, and payments and claims were easily managed.

With the five teams building and implementing the new structures and systems, it took close to 10 months to start seeing real results. Once the new approach was in place and the plan was in motion, it was incredible for the team to see the cumulative effect of all the hard work and planning coming together. 

In the three months from September to the festive break in 2019, the Victorian team managed to haul over 1,600,000m of cable, breaking NBN Co's weekly haul record in the process, at one point hauling 186,000m in one week. Once the energy and momentum was up, there was no stopping the Ventia team and by May 2020 the entire program was delivered with NBN Co.

Ventia technician fixing NBN wiring