NBN panel did not back FttH

Coalition calls for advice papers

Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

The coalition has attacked the decision-making process behind the National Broadband Network (NBN) following alleged denials by the government's expert panel that it did not advise on the Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) upgrade.

Panel member Professor Rod Tucker told an Alcatel-Lucent Sustainable Fibre Nations industry forum yesterday that the panel did not advise the government on investing in FttH technology.

“I just want to make one thing clear: the panel of experts was never asked to and didn’t make any judgement call on the issue of investment for a fibre to the home network,” Tucker said.

While fielding media questions, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the government's NBN upgrade decision was based on: “advice of an expert panel, containing within it the Secretary of the Treasury, expert advice also from the [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] about this thing being the right way to go”.

Shadow communications minister Nick Minchin again called on the government to release the expert panel NBN report, following a freedom of information request submitted yesterday.

An opposition communications spokesperson said the report's NBN recommendations should be made available and commercially sensitive data could be blacked-out.

A spokesperson for the Minister did not return media requests by publication time.

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