NBN Co: No contingency plan for Coalition government

The company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network has no plan B for the likely scenario of a change in government after the next federal election in September, but it says it can handle it.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

NBN Co has no contingency plan should the Coalition win at the next Australian federal election, but it has the capacity to handle Coalition plans, according to NBN Co head of product and sales John Simon.

Today, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled the long-awaited Coalition fibre-to-the-node (FttN) National Broadband Network (NBN) plan. The party said its version of the NBN would be cheaper than the one Labor is rolling out now, and would still provide adequate internet speeds for consumers.

Turnbull also reiterated his intention of selling off the government-funded NBN Co in the future.

Speaking at the Communications Day Summit 2013 in Sydney ahead of Turnbull's announcement, Simon confirmed that NBN Co has not planned what it would do if the Coalition comes into power.

"We haven't seen the [Coalition's] policy, so we can't really have a contingency plan for that," he said. "But we are capable of managing the outcomes of what's left."

Simon said NBN Co doesn't make policy but implements it, and is willing to work with whichever party wins the election, come September.

While the current NBN is based on fibre to the premises (FttP), Simon is not concerned about the change in technology. But he does think that the implications of using a different technology for the NBN should be carefully considered.

"Do you want to have minimum speed commitments? How do you achieve structural separation? Do you want universal wholesale pricing so you don't have differentiation between the bush and the city? What services will be offered?" Simon said. "They are policy decisions, and technology needs to be able to cater for them."

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