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Enerven's mixed capabilities delivers on nbn

A butcher, a plasterer and a panel beater walk in to Station Place for another day’s work on the national broadband network… Wait! What?

To explain the above, let’s look back at the considerable changes that the Enerven nbn team has adapted to constructing the national broadband network in South Australia.

As nbn themselves say: “The rollout of the nbn™ access network is one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in Australia’s history, covering even the most remote and inaccessible areas.”

Enerven’s involvement in the nbn project began in 2010 and has required constant adaptation of our skills base to best match the requirements of the roll-out. A nation-building program of such complexity has required a flexible and adaptive approach, sometimes needing capability provisions that weren’t originally forecast. Given the evolution of this project it’s been essential we remain proactive in our approach and collaborate with nbn to shape our capabilities to suit the task at hand.

One of the early examples of this was the adoption of LiDAR technology. The investment in this mobile surveying technology was not only useful because it reduced man-hours surveying in the field, but it also provided the team with accurate 3D renderings of streets where the network was to be strung overhead, allowing for designs to happen efficiently on the desktop.

In 2015, when nbn made the decision to take the design of the network in-house, Enerven focused exclusively on the construction side of the contract.

With the introduction of ‘FTTN’ (fibre to the node) technology under the Multi Technology Mix program of nbn, the team needed to expand their capabilities working on the Telstra copper network. As such, a large recruitment exercise took place which saw a mix of ex-Telstra workers work alongside a bunch of new recruits (including the abovementioned butcher, plasterer and panel beater) to continue the rollout of the FTTN network.

Enerven also made the decision to retain and internally redistribute a significant component of their design resources to allow them to assist the construction teams overcome any design challenges presented by the new network model.

From a challenging first build in Tennant Creek (Northern Territory), the team have now completed over 90 sites on Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Clare Valley, Mid North, Far North and Alice Springs as well as most of the northern suburbs of Adelaide (with Croydon, Elizabeth and surrounding areas still to come).

“The success of our team has translated into national recognition, with nbn voting us the number one (of 10) delivery partners nationally for a continuous 12-month period,” said Rob Coleman, Communications and Network Solutions Manager. “This has resulted in securing multiple ongoing minor works projects for places like shopping centres and retirement villages, identified problem locations (ie places with slow speeds), and new fibre connections to businesses. This scope is still expanding,” Rob said.

“Even when the construction of the national broadband network is complete, there is the potential for years of ongoing work in augmenting, designing, fixing and connecting sites for nbn™ access across Australia.

“The skills that the team have built up are also useful in tendering for other work such as the installation of EV charging stations and the impending rollout of the 5G mobile network,” he said.