NBN not planned by politics: Quigley

NBN not planned by politics: Quigley

Summary: National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) CEO Mike Quigley has rejected suggestions from the Coalition that the 28 new sites announced yesterday were mostly kept out of Liberal and National electorates.


National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) CEO Mike Quigley has rejected suggestions from the Coalition that the 28 new sites announced yesterday were mostly kept out of Liberal and National electorates.

Yesterday afternoon, Liberal MP Paul Fletcher suggested that only seven of the 28 sites announced were in safe Liberal electorates, with 80 per cent of the total sites in seats held by Federal Labor, Greens, Independent members of parliament and seats that are marginally held by the Coalition.

"Based on initial analysis of the NBN roll-out figures released today, it appears that NBN roll-out decisions are being taken for political reasons," Fletcher said.

In a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday evening, Quigley said that technical factors such as the availability of exchange space and dark fibre from Telstra were most influential in determining the next 28 sites for the NBN fibre roll-out.

"The availability of that infrastructure is dependent on Telstra being able to free up exchange space and free up dark fibre," he told the hearing. "Overwhelmingly in these early stages, the availability of Telstra infrastructure dictates where we can go in the roll-out."

The Telstra shareholder vote in favour of the $11 billion NBN deal yesterday has cleared the way for NBN Co to begin leasing Telstra's infrastructure as part of the deal, and Quigley said the vote passing was good for all involved.

Other factors such as the contracts signed with construction companies, the roll-out into new housing developments, the roll-out of NBN Co's long-term evolution (LTE) fixed wireless service and the decision to extend existing NBN sites all played a major role, Quigley said. He added that the government had directed NBN Co to roll-out to a mix of regional and metropolitan areas.

Quigley also indicated that NBN Co was rolling out the fibre in ringed formations so in the event of the fibre being cut off in one area, data traffic could still be delivered from the other side of the ring.

Although NBN Co had yet to finalise construction contracts in the Northern Territory and South Australia, Quigley said that the sites listed in those areas today would still go ahead as planned. He said that the company plans to announce the signing of the contracts in the next month.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy didn't hold back, saying that Fletcher's claims were "embarrassing" and ignored a number of suburbs such as Kiama which were in coalition electorates.

"I reject the entire premise of the idiotic press release Mr Fletcher put out," Conroy said.

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • According to the coalition clowns no one wants the NBN so why does it matter where they roll out first or last... what a bunch of clowns.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • seems their vic counterparts in all their huff and puff to bag the nbn, forgot to opt in, hc... and are now sobbing, according to this...ffs

    • Not surprising though. This government is easily the worst we've had in Victoria. Not very self aware, they dont even realise how hypocritical they are. As for Flecther I'm inclined to agree with Conroy on this one, I'd even say embarrassing is an understatement.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Worse than Kirner????
        • better looking...lol!
          • Ted would rock the polka dot frock though :)
      • Who's this ridiculous Minister down there who just made a law saying that you can't insult him? What a laughing stock. Straight out of some tinpot dictatorship.
        • It's a ridiculous law, but hasn't been reported correctly. The law actually states that you can't insult any member of the VGC whilst on a gaming premises, up to and including the minister. Freedom of expression at it's finest!
  • Paul Fletcher is on Twisted Wire tomorrow ...
    • How very delightful. I will prepare Devonshire tea and scones for the event. I hope some of the questions will bring some insight into the madness at the Liberal party HQ.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • HQ, if you only look at NBN as a single issue, what the Libs are doing looks like madness. Look at the polling across the country and you can see that what they are doing is very smart (although overly negative) politics.
        • definitely... but when (if) they get into power they will actually have do something rather than simply criticise the others... and i for one would like to know what they are going to do, rather than just saying..the others are no good vote for us!
  • f NBN Co isn't politicised, then why is it necessary for the PM or Conroy to make all its announcements?

    I don't know of any other company that turns to the PM or a Minister to make its announcements for it. Surely these announcements could be made via a press release from NBN Co, without any interference from government.

    Mr Quigley, don't take us for mugs.

    To the Liberial whingers, look in the mirror. Quite clearly your party doesn't want the NBN. Wouldn't it be worth the wait for "cheaper" Liberal version?
  • I'd be interested to see the tats on cable andADSL2+ in terms of liberal and labor electorates. Is it possible that labor strongholds (typically on the urban periphery) are lacking access to decent broadband and are therefore in need of an upgrade? Or given that the NBNco is focussing on new housing estates I'd point out that most expansion is taking place in traditional labor homelands.
  • "I reject your reality and substitute with my own" Conroy said.
  • So what is the problem? Doesn't Mr Fletcher support his leader Mr Abbott? He said he would rip it all out. So why is Mr Fletcher at all concerned where it is if it's going to be all pulled out anyway?