Alcatel-Lucent appoints its own NBN voice

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Alcatel-Lucent appoints its own NBN voice

Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent has promoted its former head of access network activity, John Turner, to lead an internal ‘NBN taskforce’.

The announcement was made at the company's Sustainable Fibre Nations seminar in Melbourne today, a gabfest that precedes the FTTH Council conference that kicks off tomorrow.

In an interview with iTnews, Turner said the cross-disciplinary taskforce includes some ten technologists specialising in areas such as access networks, operational support systems and project management.

"We're trying to cover a few bases," Turner said.

"My role is to track what's happening and to develop a strategy around it. It's early days, but we're as excited as everyone else [with the opportunities]".

Like Axia NetMedia, Turner said he believed "some parts" of the company's contributions to initial RFP submissions could be reused.

"There's quite a lot we can adapt in terms of operational systems and network architecture around the transmission systems," he said.

But Turner was quick to point out that re-use will be kept to a minimum.

"The NBN is something of a new game plan that is much more substantial than its original vision," he said.

"We want to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. I also don't think there's much point dwelling on what went on [in the RFP]."

Turner said that while Alcatel-Lucent would work with stakeholders around the NBN implementation study, he did not want to take a "lead advisory role" in it.

"We want to build the network," he said. "We see [maintaining a stronger advisory role as] a fundamental conflict of interest."

He also said Alcatel-Lucent would focus on short-term opportunities in the Backhaul Blackspot initiative.

He declined to give details on whether the vendor had been approached to participate in any consortia vying for a spot in the program.

Turner takes on the NBN lead role after holding several senior positions with Alcatel-Lucent in recent years, including heading up its access network activities in Australasia, its bids, proposals and tendering operations in Australasia and North Asia, and its services solutions and marketing activities in Asia Pacific.

The appointment comes just days after NICTA chief David Skellern called on the industry to establish a single, unified voice to communicate NBN ideas with the Government.

He said the 26 ICT industry groups all jostling for position around the NBN may be doing the sector a disservice.

Turner supported Skellern's call but believed that the formation of an Alcatel-Lucent taskforce was both necessary and justified.

"We'd embrace a unified voice but also see the need for the presence of individual voices," he said.

"From our perspective, the taskforce is also about Alcatel-Lucent as well. Given what the NBN could do for our company, we'd be negligent if we didn't make it an internal focus."

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