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New G9 boss insulted by Telstra network details

Former Soul CEO Michael Simmons will be taking up duties overseeing G9's bid for the national broadband network, and has today called for the ACCC to intervene in the tender process.
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Written by Marcus Browne on

Former Soul CEO Michael Simmons will be taking up duties overseeing G9's bid for the national broadband network, and has today called for the ACCC to intervene in the tender process.

After announcing his resignation from Soul late last week, Simmons was today appointed managing director and will oversee the G9's bid for Australia's fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network.

"As CEO of Soul I was on the board with all the other CEOs, so I've been living and breathing this for more than a year now.

"At the moment we're working on a tender response for a network that will service a generation and we're being asked to do that in a three-month period, I really don't see how that's long enough," said Simmons.

"We need more time and more information from Telstra," he said, going on to describe the existing network details handed over by Telstra last week as "basically an insult for [G9]".

Simmons' comments come after Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan threatened to withdraw from the bid following Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy's refusal to extend the 25 July deadline for responses.

Simmons then urged the ACCC to intervene in the tender process for the network, telling ZDNet.com.au today, "It's crazy that [the ACCC] have had no involvement already".

"It's really the government's obligation to appoint someone as the referee in all of this, there's so many different stakeholders to be considered even at this stage; providers, media organisations, the incumbent and basically anyone with an interest in broadband access," he said.

Simmons emphasised the importance of a structural separation for Telstra as part of his organisation's bid. "I personally don't understand why you wouldn't have a separation for this," he said.

Asked how he would respond to Telstra's aggressive statement to competitors after lodging its bond for the network bid last week, Simmons said "[G9] don't really see much benefit in attacking Telstra; we just want to see the right access regime put in place to ensure open and fair access to the network".

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