Hackett picked for NBN Co board

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tapped industry veteran and Internode founder Simon Hackett for the new NBN Co board, along with former NBN Co head of construction Patrick Flannigan and ex-Telstra executive Justin Milne.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Telecommunications industry veteran, and Internode founder Simon Hackett will join the board of NBN Co, along with ex-Telstra executive Justin Milne and NBN Co's former head of construction Patrick Flannigan, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced.

Turnbull said in the release that the trio were "well-established industry figures with lengthy careers in telecommunications, broadband, and the deployment of linear infrastructure".

Hackett has long put forward proposals to NBN Co for how to improve the rollout and design of the network, from better ways to connect customers to the network, to an alternative pricing model that will encourage uptake of services on the network. His appointment comes close to two years since Hackett sold his Adelaide-based ISP Internode to iiNet, and joined the iiNet board as a non-executive director in August 2012.

His appointment to the NBN board would have a conflict of interest with his role as a board member of iiNet, given one is the wholesale provider, while the other is a retail provider with a significant number of customers already connected to the NBN. But the government confirmed that Hackett will resign his position on the iiNet board at the end of the month.

Flannigan left NBN Co in mid-2011 as the company struggled to reach an agreement with construction partners before halting the tender process entirely. After leaving NBN Co, Flannigan founded and is currently the CEO and managing director of Utility Services Group.

Milne worked with Turnbull at OzEmail, and then later headed up Telstra's BigPond, and later Telstra Media. It was understood that Milne had already been brought in to NBN Co to consult as part of the strategic review.

Hackett, Milne and Flannigan will join the existing board made up of executive chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Alison Landsley and Dr Kerry Schott. Switkowski said that the experience of the board will help it through the strategic review and transition period.

"This is a period of transition for the company and it will be a great asset to have a new board that brings decades of combined experience in the industry," he said in a statement.

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