Conroy, 'poo or get off the pot': Oakeshott

The NBN was one of the reasons Independent MP Rob Oakeshott sided with Labor. Now he sees the Coalition's position has changed and he's concerned about the lack of reliable information from the government.

The NBN was one of the reasons Independent MP Rob Oakeshott sided with Labor. Now he sees the Coalition's position has changed and he's concerned about the lack of reliable information from the government.

It's a quaint phrase isn't it, "poo or get off the pot". Oakeshott uses it in the context of having Communications Minister Stephen Conroy provide more reliable information about the National Broadband Network, including providing the business case. You'll hear in his interview on this week's Twisted Wire that his support for the government's approach is wavering somewhat.

Oakeshott was one of the recipients this week of an open letter from the Alliance For Affordable Broadband. I talk to one of the signatories, Vocus CEO James Spencely. He says Conroy's "pig-headedness" means he "is not willing to entertain any alternative views".

This week's report from the OECD hasn't helped Senator Conroy's case, even though his office tried to put a (rather unconvincing) positive spin on it. The OECD is concerned about the NBN limiting competing infrastructure investment.

The NBN Co's centralised model for the positioning of points of interconnect is another example where competition is being restricted.

The ACCC called for responses to a discussion paper on the issue; most large players in the industry have expressed deep concern about the approach, but the NBN Co has a supporter in Primus.

In the podcast you'll hear Primus' general counsel John Horan, who echoes comments made by Peter Ferris, NBN Co's GM of planning and design, who said that those criticising the approach have their own self interest at heart. That'll be the self-interest of providing a competing alternative.

It seems clear that now is the time for Conroy to find a way to develop a dialogue that will satisfy the industry, politicians and voters that we're moving forward the right way. But does he have it in his psyche?

Running time: 31 minutes 51 seconds

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