Serious questions remain as to whether the 2017-18 revenue target in the 2018 NBN Corporate Plan was set low in order to spin a public relations coup for the Turnbull Government upon release of the full year NBN financial results this Thursday.
Despite the nationwide HFC halt that led to NBN missing their activations target by 0.4 million premises, NBNCo is somehow still expected to exceed its $1.9 billion revenue target for 2017-18 in the 2018 Corporate Plan.
NBNCo has argued this counter-intuitive result was due to strong activations over the first half of 2017-18. Yet an analysis of this period indicates the average activations rate over the first half was 5 per cent behind forecasts, and that activations in the second half were 35 per cent behind forecasts.
Further, a review of the third quarter results also indicates it would have been possible for NBN to halt the HFC rollout in November 2017, then halt the entire NBN rollout on 31 March 2018, and still be on track to exceed the 2017-18 revenue target of $1.9 billion!
In other words: the revenue target set by NBNCo was nearly impossible to miss.
Senior executive bonuses are linked to reaching this target. In 2016-17, NBNCo paid out $66 million in bonuses.
The Turnbull Government needs to explain whether the target was set low to create potential for self-congratulatory spin upon release of the full year results on Thursday.
This isn’t the first time the Liberals have tried to spin their second-rate NBN, and it won’t be the last.