NBN Co fights back on Pipe CEO's disclosure claims

Industry consultation and disclosure is high, and a business case exists NBN Co Quigley says

NBN Co has defended itself from criticism made by Pipe Networks founder Bevan Slattery that the company’s level of disclosure and consultation had been deficient at every level.

The stinging attack, made at the recent CommsDay summit, also saw Slattery argue that a commercial return in building out the wholesale only Fibre to the Home (FTTH) network to 90 per cent of Australia at a cost of $43 billion was impossible.

Responding to Slattery’s criticisms, an NBN Co spokesperson told Computerworld Australia that NBN Co had been “highly transparent”.

“We issued a consultation paper on the network design and high-level wholesale bitstream product in December,” the spokesperson said. “This was supported by well-attended industry briefing sessions. We received nearly 50 submissions and considered them carefully before issuing a response.”

The spokesperson said that NBN Co had also recently completed a “very detailed” series of industry workshops looking at network planning and design, network construction, operations and interworking with customers and partners.

“…Industry representatives had direct access to the key personnel who will be responsible for the construction and operation of the network and support systems,” the spokesperson said.

The NBN Co also plans to issue a paper on the points-of-interconnect, and a more detailed product description over coming weeks, the spokesperson said.

“We have also indicated we will submit a special access undertaking regarding the proposed price of our basic service offer with the ACCC in June, and this is also a transparent process,” the spokesperson said.

Computerworld was also referred to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley’s speech at the CommsDay Summit which saw Quigley argue that the suggestion the NBN would not make a return for 30 years was wrong.

“Our business case, and we have built up a business case, shows three things,” Quigley said. “The first is that that we will generate a positive return on our costs before the end of the construction period.

“Second, we will recover our yearly costs, including capital costs, within a few years after the end of construction period. That means we will be net income positive for that period.

“And thirdly… we will be building the project so that we can repay all the government’s equity contribution within the normal life of a telecoms project, which is a 20 to 30 year period.

“What Senator Conroy has … outlined is a government initiative that has more than just a commercial return – it has a broader set of objectives, and that’s what we need to take into account.”

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Tags NBNnbn coSenator Stephen ConroyPipe NetworksNational Broadband Network (NBN)fibre to the home

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