In publishing its financial results for the year ending 30 June 2020, Australia’s NBN Co revealed it had exceeded its build target for the year, ending the twelve-month period with 11.73 million premises classified as ready to connect – close to quarter of a million more than the 11.50 million it had aimed to reach by that date. Meanwhile, the company also confirmed that 7.27 million premises had signed up to a National Broadband Network (NBN) based plan by end-June 2020, up from 5.53 million a year earlier, and forecasts that this figure will increase to around 8.2 million by June 2021. Of the active premises, the largest proportion connect via fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology – 3.05 million, up from 2.711 million – while also notable was an increase in HFC-based accesses, which rose from around 900,000 at mid-2019 to 1.69 million a year later.
In terms of key financial metrics, NBN Co generated a total turnover of AUD3.84 billion (USD2.7 billion) for the year ended 30 June 2020, representing an annualised increase of almost 36%. Residential revenues accounted for the bulk of the total, rising to AUD2.98 billion from AUD2.17 billion previously, while turnover from business users increased to AUD666 million from AUD475 million. EBITDA before subscriber costs saw a sizeable increase too, reaching AUD1.77 billion in FY 2020, up from AUD608 million, and while the company recorded a negative EBITDA of AUD648 million after subscriber costs, this represented a significant improvement on the negative AUD1.29 billion in FY 2019. In FY 2020 NBN Co paid AUD2.41 billion in subscriber costs to Telstra and Optus, the highest annual level of such payments, but it said it expects such costs to ‘significantly reduce from FY 2021 with payments totalling approximately AUD1.5 billion due over FY 2021-2024, until such payments cease’. Meanwhile, NBN Co’s capital expenditure declined from AUD5.91 billion in FY 2019 to AUD5.04 billion in FY 2020, a drop which the company said reflected ‘the wind down of construction activity as the company approached the final stages of the initial network build’.