Months saved on NBN roll-out
A local construction worker has saved two major companies millions of dollars with his simple solution.
During a routine installation of the National Broadband Network in Port Hedland, an obstruction under a major mining company’s rail line threatened to derail the roll-out process by almost six months and cost more than $100,000 to fix.
However, employees from WBHO — from the company contracted to undertake the NBN roll-out — came up with a simple but highly effective solution.
WBHO construction manager John Fennell said it was mechanic Matty McDonogh who hit upon the idea to make parachutes to send the fibre optic cables under the rail lines.
“In summary, the blockage was cleared by digging down as close as possible to the edge of the rail corridor and flushing the conduits,” he said.
“The boys then used homemade ‘parachutes’ to blow through the ducts.” It was the commonly supplied lawnmower bags used to contain oil and tools which proved to be the game changer.
“These bags offer a far superior and stronger alternative to any type of parachute you would find anywhere else in the telecom industry,” Mr Fennell said.
NBN project manager WA north Josh Gunputh said the innovative solution was a great example of how collaboration between NBN and its delivery partners could achieve great results.
“Trust is a really big thing when operating at these vast distances,” he said.
“You have to be able to deal with challenges that often won’t come up anywhere else.”
Mr Gunputh praised the workers, saying without the solution, the company was looking at a six-month delay in the Pilbara roll-out.
“WBHO have gone above and beyond by coming up with the parachute solution to blow through the pipe and unblock it,” he said.
“This is a really great result.”
The innovative “parachute” system used to flush out cable ducts.