Quigley calls for industry to inform NBN debate

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Quigley calls for industry to inform NBN debate
Mike Quigley addresses the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.

Comms Alliance undecided on whether to intervene.

NBN Co chief executive officer Mike Quigley has asked the telecommunications industry to report on policy and technology options that could impact the NBN.

Quigley today revealed that he had approached the Communications Alliance in recent weeks to “bring commercial reality to the theoretical debate” into broadband technologies.

Labor’s plan to deliver fibre to 93 percent of Australian premises was a deciding factor in the 2010 Federal Election and has remained a point of contention.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has criticised FTTP as overly labour-intensive and expensive, highlighting HFC and FTTN technologies as alternatives.

“My job as the leader of a government business enterprise is to go out and build what the government of the day asks us to build,” Quigley told an AMCHAM luncheon in Sydney today.

“All these technologies can be deployed; they’re all options. We’ve got both FTTP and FTTN being deployed in various places around the world.”

Although Quigley did not expect all industry players to be in agreement over the best NBN technology, he hoped that a Communications Alliance report would put all issues on the table and facilitate evidence-based decisions.

The Alliance comprises about 110 members, including IT service providers, vendors and telcos such as Optus and Telstra.

“As we all know, this is a complex industry involving not just difficult technical considerations but also non-trivial industry structure, regulatory and operational issues,” Quigley said.

“The telecommunications industry itself is uniquely placed in this country to provide valuable context to various policy choices and their impacts on this industry and, more importantly, its customers.”

Communications Alliance chief executive officer John Stanton told iTnews that its board had yet to decide on whether or not to proceed with the project, or its scope.

“The working groups under Communications Alliance designed the original reference architecture for the NBN several years ago,” he noted.

“Of course industry remains vitally interested in the directions in which the network might sensibly evolve and develop over the course of a multi-year rollout program.

“For such a project to proceed it would need to feature a broad and inclusive, evidence-based debate that could sit above the level of politics in this, an election year.”

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