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

The nbn™ broadband access network is one of the largest telecommunications endeavours in Australia’s history. It’s a global first. A country-wide, all-inclusive broadband infrastructure that utilises a Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) model to provide all Aussie homes and businesses with access to fast internet.

It’s engineering on a “mega” scale, and it requires a phenomenal amount of effort to not only get it installed, but maintained and even to upgrade it.

Spread across the roughly 7.7 million square kilometres of Australia are more than 6,000 nbn employees and 24,000 people working for our Delivery Partners, all helping to build and maintain the nbn™ access network. These are everyday Aussies working on something from which Australia will benefit.

In the Meet the People series, nbn invites you to connect with some of the men and women on the frontline of this telecommunications revolution. The people on the road, in the trenches, facing extreme weather and occasionally even wildlife to deliver the nbn™ access network.

Previously we’ve introduced you to field technician Jacob, and we also caught up with field engineer Sean. Today we’re meeting Melanie.

Meet Melanie, field engineer at nbn

Melanie Michael is hard at work on the rollout of the nbn™ access network through New South Wales and the ACT. Hailing from Mount Druitt, she was employed as a telco technician before the opportunity to contribute to something historic lured her to nbn.

“Working at nbn is exciting because it’s a chance to be involved in Australia’s biggest infrastructure project since the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme,” Melanie revealed.

The move has proved invigorating for Melanie – the diversity in her role, brought about by the varied installation approaches of the nbn™ access network, requires her to be multi-skilled.

“You could say that I need to be a jack of all trades,” she considers. “In my last job, they had lines and technicians. At nbn I do both line work and technician work. So I’ll splice fibres and join copper, which is more line work. Then I’ll work on active gear at the exchanges, nodes and T-FANs. I also do maintenance tasks on the nodes, FTTB installations and at the exchanges – these jobs would be yet another person’s role at my previous job, too.”

With such a diversity of tasks within the one role, when you ask Melanie to define her typical day-to-day experience with nbn, she answers with a smile. “Well each day looks very different from the last by the time I get home in the evening.

"I could be working as a locksmith for a node to replace a damaged lock, or testing copper pairs to improving an end user’s service. Or I could be fixing a fault somewhere on the active gear.”

Melanie is also quick to note how important communication is within her role and having the knowledge and poise to deal with a number of face-to-face and telephone interactions.

“There is a need for good communication skills to communicate not only with the end users, but also the many internal nbn departments (…like Media Access Control, Activations and the various Network Operations Centres),” she details.

In short, Melanie needs to regularly speak with a number of different departments within nbn, all of which have different jobs and responsibilities, to ensure that the job gets done.

This, of course, requires a not-insubstantial amount of organisation on her behalf to keep in touch with such a diverse group and maintain a meaningful conversation.

It’s all in a day’s work for Melanie, a field engineer rolling out the nbn™ access network.

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