Australia’s NBN Co and Biarri Networks: What do they have in common?
They are all finalists in the 2014 INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Franz Edelman Prize. The Prize is the world’s most prestigious recognition for excellence in applying advanced analytics to benefit business and humanitarian outcomes.
So what is NBN Co and Biarri Networks doing up there?
It all started four years ago when the National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) and Biarri Networks joined forces to develop a software program to automate different design networks for the national fibre optic network layout. They called their system FOND — short for Fibre Optic Network Design — and it reminds us a little of the Sims.
FOND generates low-cost fibre network designs that have reduced construction costs by approximately 20 per cent and manual planning time by 80 per cent. If we are talking numbers, let’s talk dollars: over the lifetime of the NBN project this equates to a saving of more than $2.2 billion.
With those kinds of dollars it is no wonder the collaborative venture between NBN Co and Biarri Networks has been considered among one of the most advanced Operations Research projects in the world.