Questions remain as to the timing and sequencing of the NBN HFC rollout delay announced this week.
Here is a timeline of events:
November 2015 – leaked documents identify noise ingress on HFC as the cause of interference and degradation in end-user speeds.
November 2015 – leaked documents indicate NBN will abandon the Optus HFC network.
February 2016 – NBN CEO denies company will abandon use of Optus HFC infrastructure.
September 2016 – NBN abandons use of Optus HFC infrastructure.
14 November 2017 – The Senate votes to order a committee hearing with NBN executives scheduled for 23 November.
22 November 2017 – NBN writes to Minister to advise they are seeking to halt the HFC rollout.
23 November 2017 – Chief NBN engineer questioned on HFC interference, but no mention of the pending rollout halt at the Senate hearing.
27 November 2017 – NBN announces a halt to the HFC rollout.
What triggered the sudden sequence of events in November 2017, given the issue was identified over two years ago?
Was it the fear of leaks exposing the situation?
Was it the fear of the pending ACCC speed monitoring program focusing on HFC as the first technology off the rank?
Were dropouts on the HFC network reaching a state of no return?
Or was it a combination of all-the-above?
For all of Malcolm Turnbull’s platitudes about making the NBN more transparent, his latest debacle on HFC shows it has never been more opaque.