G9 appoints Egan to spearhead national broadband bid

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G9 appoints Egan to spearhead national broadband bid

Telco consortium, the G9, has appointed Macquarie University Chancellor Michael Egan as its chairman to lead a bid against Telstra for the Government’s $4.7 billion National Broadband Network.

Egan will join newly appointed G9 managing director, Michael Simmons, in spearheading the group’s national broadband tender bid.

"The appointment of Michael Egan to Chair G9 is further confirmation of our commitment to the NBN to achieve fair & equitable access to broadband throughout Australia in the long term,” Simmons said.

Egan comes to the group with a strong pedigree in senior industry positions. Aside from being the Chairman of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology and Chairman of the Australia Day Council of New South Wales, Egan was also New South Wales’s longest serving State Treasurer, serving from 1995 to 2005.

“The national broadband network will be hugely important for all Australians,” Egan said. "It's vitally important that [the NBN] enhances, rather than diminishes, competition in the provision of communication services."

Egan’s appointment precedes last night’s Senate hearing where a bill allowing access to secret telco network infrastructure was passed.

Prior to the bill’s approval, the G9 had voiced concern over rival bidder Telstra’s surrender of network information which the group described as ‘useless’.

"Aside from a mathematical model the only ‘real world’ data available is a set of street addresses for telephone exchange buildings and average distances for copper cables,” said G9 bid manager Michael Simmons.

Now with the passing of the bill, telcos will be legally required to hand over details of their entire network infrastructure to rivals interested in bidding for the national network.

Primus Telecom Australia CEO and G9 member, Ravi Bhatia, welcomed the passing of the bill and emphasised the importance of having complete access to Telstra’s network information.

“We need to process all that network information to gauge the real cost [of building a national broadband network] so we can make a precise and competitive bid,” he said.

Bhatia also said the G9 lodged an application to extend the July 25 deadline that bidders must submit their network proposals by.

“It takes five to six months to put something like this together,” he said. “There’s no point doing a half-arsed job for something on this scale. It’s in the national interest to do this right.”
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