This article was written by Eleanor Dickinson (ARN)
NBN Co has once again changed the date for when it will begin re-taking hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) orders amid a global chip shortage.
The broadband builder originally suspended orders for HFC services on 1 February after the chip shortage left it with a dearth of network termination devices (NTDs).
The latest date change came after NBN Co encountered issues with the rollout of a new workforce scheduling system, which sparked a protest among its workforce and contractors.
However, it now claims that it will start connecting customers with HFC services, giving customers who have been waiting for the longest the first available connection appointments. It will also make available simple self-install kits to eligible premises to speed up their connection to the network.
“We are pleased to confirm that we have acquired sufficient stocks of HFC modems and resolved a number of issues that have impacted the availability of field technicians, which will enable us to recommence taking new orders to connect premises to the network via HFC technology,” said NBN Co chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb.
“We apologise to customers who have been inconvenienced by the initial delay relating to the global shortage of silicon chipsets used to manufacture and supply HFC modems, and the subsequent delays relating to our workforce scheduling system and the availability of field technicians in recent weeks.”
Whitcomb added that it may “take some weeks to fulfil all new connection requests” due to customer demand.
The news comes as NBN Co opens the door for governments at all levels to help it further develop its infrastructure.
It is now calling for expressions of interest from federal, state, territory and local government agencies for the co-funding of projects to lift the digital capabilities of communities in regional and rural Australia.