The Communications Alliance has chosen former federal communications minister, Michael Lee to take the role of independent Chair from January 1 2010.
Lee will take over from Neville Stevens, who has held the role for the last seven years.
“Communications Alliance plays a vital role in the operation of the Australian communications industry and I am honoured to have led the Board over the past seven years," Stevens said in a statement. "I would like to thank my fellow Board members, the management and staff of Communications Alliance, and our members, for their support during my term as Chair.
“The industry now faces new challenges and opportunities with the NBN and I am confident that Michael Lee has the drive and experience to continue Communications Alliance’s great work and lead the organisation into the digital environment.”
Speaking to Computerworld Lee said he was looking forward to leading the industry's input into the NBN and identified the infrastructure project as his best opportunity.
"Communications Alliance can play a very constructive role in helping the various parties find the practical compromises," he said. "We can make sure the industry works in a sensible manner."
In terms of challenges, Lee pointed to the rise in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) this year, but said many telcos had already started taking steps to improving. Lee added he would play a neutral role in the Telstra separation debate.
"The concept behind the independent chair is it is someone who has the ability to talk to all parties and it is not Communciations Alliance's role to place itself between the hand to hand combat or negotiations between parties," he said.
In October, the Communications Alliance released its vision of the network architecture required for the NBN to deliver a broad range of network, application and content services to end users.
In its report, NBN Reference Architecture: High Level Architecture Options for the NBN, the Communications Alliance looks at the end-to-end broadband network architecture framework and a range of potential passive and active NBN wholesale interconnect scenarios.