Network information that Telstra submitted to the Federal Government under the initial National Broadband Network proposal may have been leaked by the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE).
"We have been advised of one potential breach or failure. We were advised by the department," said Telstra's NBN engagement lead Geoff Booth, who answered questions at yesterday's Senate Standing Committee on the Environment, Communications and the Arts which looked at the first proposed piece of NBN legislation — the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures No. 1) Bill 2009.
Booth had responded to a question by Shadow Minister for Communications, Nick Minchin, who suggested Telstra's network information was leaked.
"Are you aware of any leak — which is the word used around here — or any inadvertent or unfortunate release of that information in any way that has been a difficulty for you since the collapse of the RFP process?" asked Minchin.
Booth said Telstra was advised by the DBCDE that it was a "technical breach" and said the department had not yet provided it full details. Booth said Telstra considered it a "minor breach".
Telstra's submission to the inquiry had specifically raised the issue of "proponents" of the first NBN process still possessing its network information. If they did, "they would be able to use it to create or develop their own broadband telecommunications networks (eg, a 3G mobile network) or for the supply of services over such a network."
Telstra's general counsel on Public Policy and Communications, William Gallagher said he knew that one of the NBN tenderers had destroyed the information, but that Telstra had not been advised about others, including advisors and contractors involved in the first NBN.
Booth summed up Telstra's concerns by saying that the telco wanted to ensure the information was destroyed if it was not required for the new NBN.
Telstra's submission to the committee had also asked for protection against any legal claims that may arise from it inadvertently supplying inaccurate information.
Gallagher also noted that Telstra had not been compensated by the government for expenses it incurred when gathering and providing its network information.