NBN Co strategic review to be released tomorrow

Ahead of the release of NBN Co's strategic review tomorrow, NBN Co's chief operations officer Greg Adcock has confirmed that no fibre-to-the-node trials were conducted as part of the review.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Ahead of tomorrow's release of the long-awaited report from NBN Co's 60-day strategic review, NBN Co chief operations officer Greg Adcock has said that no fibre-to-the-node trials were conducted as part of the review.

The strategic review — commenced by NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski following the Coalition's election victory in September — is expected to be released after a board meeting of NBN Co tomorrow. Prior to the announcement on the expected future of the AU$37.4 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project, several key executives have this morning appeared before a Senate Select committee, facing questioning from former Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the status of the review and the wider project.

NBN Co's head of corporate Kevin Brown indicated that although the first draft document was handed to the government on December 2, it was returned to NBN Co before public release. It is expected that a few more changes will be made to the document, including a redaction of commercial-in-confidence material that NBN Co believes would make it tougher to renegotiate with vendors, and with Telstra and Optus.

Although NBN Co has been looking to conduct trials of fibre-to-the-node technology as it considers switching to use Telstra's existing copper lines instead of continuing the fibre-to-the-premises rollout, Adcock told the committee that no trials were conducted as part of the strategic review.

At several points, the NBN Co executives were questioned about a document prepared for the Department of Communications by NBN Co for the incoming Coalition government on the Coalition's broadband policy. The document, which was obtained by ZDNet, revealed concerns that the company has in achieving the Coalition's objectives of delivering 25Mbps to all Australians by 2016 and 50Mbps to all Australians by 2019.

At each turn, the executives declined to discuss the reports, stating that because the document had not been published in full, they could not confirm the accuracy of the document.

"I've seen the articles, and I've seen the quotes in the articles, but I haven't seen the documents the articles refers to," NBN Co's chief marketing officer Kieran Cooney said.

He suggested that the document might be a draft, or different to a document that NBN Co has on hand.

Cooney said that as the document was prepared for the department, it would be up to the department rather than NBN Co to release the document in full.

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