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Meeting the people behind the nbn™ network: Geoff

One of the biggest changes to Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure requires hard working humans out in the field. Here are their stories…

The journey to nationwide fast broadband access is now on the home straight. The rollout of the nbn™ broadband access network is more than halfway complete, and everything is on-track for completion by 2020. When it’s complete, people spread out across our huge country will be connected by the nbn™ access network: a network using a Multi-Technology Mix to ensure that Australians, including our remote and rural citizens, have access to fast internet.

But NBN Co is hard at work on more than just the rollout of the network. There’s the maintenance of existing connections to consider. There are potential future upgrades to be researched. And there are citizens and businesses to be educated and encouraged to make the most of fast broadband, through initiatives like Going Glocal.

With so much going on in a country of our size, it should come as little surprise that more than 30,000 people work on the nbn™ access network: the rollout, its expansion, its upkeep and its various services.

Our ‘Meet the People’ series gives you a chance to learn more about some of these hardworking Australians and the roles they play in making the nbn™ access network function. Previously, we’ve chatted to field technician Jacob, field engineers Sean and Melanie, and product manager Mojdeh. Now it’s time to chat with Geoff.

Meet Geoff, Product Prototype Operations Manager

Geoff Spozetta works in the all-important innovations team at NBN Co as the Product Prototype Operations Manager. Geoff is part of the team that helps drive forward new ideas and opportunities.

“I work with our customers on testing new ideas for nbn’s products,” Geoff explains. “I act as the point of contact for sales, service, delivery and assurance. This means that if a customer has any questions or needs assistance with any of our innovations products, I am there to help and support them.”

Geoff has plenty of experience in the industry, which proves invaluable when working with and explaining new innovations. “I’ve always had an interest in technology,” he says. “I worked in various roles for telecommunication companies for 12 years before coming over to NBN Co. Most recently, I worked for a retail service provider (an NBN Co customer), where I managed and provisioned services over the nbn™ access network. But the size and scale of NBN Co and the network is such that I couldn’t really compare it to anywhere else I’ve worked.”

“My team looks at how the network is currently being used, and what opportunities are available for us to augment or extend the network."

With all that experience, Geoff’s skills are now best utilised at the computer rather than outside in the field.

“I spend most days at the office with my team. We’re always working to improve our new products, or we’re on the phone working to deliver innovations. I communicate with everyone, from the customers of NBN Co, to the end users of the nbn™ access network and, of course, everyone at NBN Co. But there’s no such thing as a typical day: it’s constantly changing. I could be doing anything from interviews with customers to creating a new database to solving a challenge so we can sign off on the delivery of a new site.”

Geoff loves his job, and the team he gets to work with every day. “I really enjoy delivering a new product to a customer, and working with the teams inside NBN Co to optimise the delivery processes. Our team works co-operatively, so we’re constantly in contact with each other to get feedback on how to best create solutions and the supporting experience for our customers.”

Despite his positivity, Geoff does acknowledge that there are difficult moments he needs to overcome. “Working with teams that are in many different places all over the country can be challenging, as is working with uncertainty. We do not know if the ideas we’re testing will ultimately be successful. Some ideas that we come up with simply turn out to be unviable and you have to throw away the prototype. So getting comfortable with uncertainty, and not becoming too attached to the work, is both important and challenging.”

But it’s vital that Geoff soldiers on. He is all too aware of how important his role is to the continued growth of the nbn™ access network beyond its initial rollout.

“My team looks at how the network is currently being used, and what opportunities are available for us to augment or extend the network. For example, one of the products I support is Cell Site Access Service, which allows mobile network operators to use the network’s fibre infrastructure to fill in mobile black spots in regional areas. I’m directly involved in ensuring that these services are delivered.”

So, are there any new innovations Geoff is working on that he can share with NBN Co customers?

“The technology we’re using has existed for some time, however the way we’re using it might be considered unique. A trial we’re running at the moment, for example, is using a gum stick-sized fibre Network Termination Device to provide access to the nbn™ access network to traffic lights! I do find new technologies like this to be fascinating, it’s just challenging making the time to find out all about them.” 

For Geoff, working at NBN Co is a dream come true, as it allows him to make a tangible impact on Australia’s future. “Working for NBN Co means being a part of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Australia. The nbn™ access network can help change so much about Australia. It can help people to work from anywhere in the country, support other infrastructure projects such as traffic management, provide remote education, and more. The nbn™ access network has the potential to change the way we interact with the world and it’s a fundamental part of the 21st century in Australia.”

“And I really enjoy helping Australia get connected and finding ways to use this awesome network for the betterment of the country. Where else could I have had the opportunity to conduct research into how NBN Co can assist with helping bridge the digital divide for all Australians and, in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? Understanding the unique issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities face, and being able to use that understanding to come up with workable solutions, I feel immense pride contributing to one of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects."

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