NBN staff in a street in Spotswood.
NBN staff in a street in Spotswood.

How many people does it take to install the NBN?

ROLLING out Australia's trouble-plagued National Broadband Network sure hasn't been easy. Ask this lot.

Fourteen staff (count them) were photographed examining a hole on a street in Spotswood on Wednesday.

Asked what they were doing, one worker said: "We're just scoping out whether it can be laid."


He said NBN staff were monitoring the work of ­contractor Fulton Hogan.

"We are just here to make sure they are doing the right thing," he said.

But when an NBN spokesman was asked who the 14 were, he insisted they were all contracted staff.

"The construction workers pictured in the supplied photo are from one of NBN Co's delivery partners that was undertaking training activities in the field," he said.

"As part of this delivery partner's push to increase crew numbers, it regularly undertakes training activities in the field to get a first-hand view of the NBN access network. This is not unusual activity when training new workers."

The $49 billion NBN rollout continues to face furious backlash from residents ­either left waiting for ­connections or grappling with poor connections.

Victoria was hardest-hit by last year's suspension of the hybrid fibre-coaxial network, which provides slower internet speeds than the fibre-to-the-premises technology.

About 870,000 Victorian homes are meant to receive HFC by the end of the rollout.

While NBN claimed the HFC halt would include delays of only six to nine months, many Victorians have seen delays blow out by more than two years.

Responding to the story again this morning, NBN Co external affairs general manager Gemma Daley said there had been a 16 per cent decline in the rate of complaints made to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) during the second half of 2017.

Of the 22,827 complaints to the TIO about retail services delivered over the NBN network from July to December 2017, she said less than five per cent (1052) were sent to NBN Co as complaints to resolve.

"This was during one of the biggest deployment years in the company's history with NBN Co increasing the number of activated premises on the network in the six months to December 31 2017 by 39 per cent (942,804 premises)," Ms Daley said.

She said the complaints equate to equates to 0.67 per cent of total activated services.

According to NBN Co's June progress report, 4 million Australian homes and businesses are now connected, up from 2.4 million at the same time last year.

The rollout is meant to be completed by 2020.