NBN adviser interviews wrap up

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NBN adviser interviews wrap up

Details Tasmanian oversight.

The Department of Communications will wind up three days of interviews of candidates for the National Broadband Network lead advisory role today with a decision expected before the end of the month.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told a broadband summit yesterday that his office had received "extremely strong" expressions of interest in the role.

He said interviews started last Monday.

"We're confident we'll have a decision by the end of this month at the latest," Senator Conroy said.

The lead adviser would be responsible for conducting the NBN implementation study to be handed down next year.

And it will manage contributions from sub-contracted advisers; their identities were yet to be revealed.

And he said the department had received recommendations from the executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder for candidates to chair the NBN company or "NBNCo".

Egon Zehnder handled recruitment for Sol Trujillo's replacement at Telstra and Paul Twomey's replacement at ICANN.

Senator Conroy said that although the NBNCo board was yet to be finalised, it would likely include a lawyer.

And it would appoint a chief executive officer to run the NBNCo, he said.

The board and its chairman were anticipated to have "a very live role" in the NBN rollout in Tasmania where a fibre-to-the-premises network will connect some 200,000 houses.

But it was unclear what the oversight structure for the Tasmanian Government and Aurora Energy-led rollout would be. Senator Conroy said the Federal Government would "probably create a TasNBNCo [as a subsidiary] under the direct control of the ... NBNCo" to fulfil this role.

"The Tasmanian operation will have its own CEO, but the NBNCo CEO will also have insight over the whole project", he  said.

He said the department was in the "final stages" of negotiations with the Tasmanian Government to begin rolling out the network.

"It's still the subject of ongoing commercial negotiations," Senator Conroy said. "However, I am pleased to say the Tasmanian Government has given very positive indications that it will begin its rollout in a very short timeframe."

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