Emerging Technology

NBN board resigns as network prepares for massive change

Patrick Stafford /

The entire board of the National Broadband Network has reportedly handed in their resignations, but both the company and government are tight-lipped on the matter.

According to various Fairfax media reports, the board has stepped down in what is expected to be the first of several changes within the massive construction project.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the Coalition government will implement several new methods for both the construction and the operation of the network.

Fairfax has reported the entire board has resigned, along with chairwoman Siobhan McKenna, although the ABC has reported all but one of the seven members have resigned.

Fairfax also reported former Telstra head Ziggy Switkowski is in line to be appointed as NBN Co’s executive chairman.

“It’s not surprising,” says telco analyst Chris Coughlan. “If you’re going to restructure something, start at the top.”

SmartCompany contacted both the NBN and Turnbull’s office, but both declined to comment.

Turnbull has consistently laid blame for the NBN’s woes at the feet of the board. The resignation of the board will be the beginning of a period of change for the NBN, with Turnbull now responsible for delivering the Coalition’s amendments to the project.

The Coalition will change the project into a fibre-to-the-node scheme, with copper connecting the nodes to individual homes. Occupants will then need to pay for the extra fibre connections, which could cost in the thousands of dollars.

However, these changes will require amendments to the current deals with Telstra regarding access to copper and the construction of the scheme itself.

“If you were working at NBN, I’m not sure your role would be that secure,” says Coughlan.

The restructure of the NBN has already created ramifications within the industry. Last week TPG announced it would invest in its own fibre network in capital cities.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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