The NBN Boss Has Basically Been Told He's Set For The High Jump

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Australia’s opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has issued an extraordinary warning that he intends to shake up the management of the company rolling out the National Broadband Network – and the chief executive Mike Quigley is directly in his sights.

In comments that will have run a chill through NBN Co’s top management, Turnbull said Quigley was “the wrong choice for this job”.

Turnbull will soon be the communications minister if, as widely expected, the Coalition wins government in the September 14 election.

As Annabel Hepworth and Mitchell Bingemann report in The Australian, Turnbull believes Quigley, the former president of France-based telecommunications giant Alcatel, has the wrong skill set to be leading the rollout and that it needs “someone that has been responsible for a telecom network business or has been involved in the construction of them”.

It’s not just Quigley, who is known for donating his first year’s salary of around $2 million to charity, that Turnbull has in mind. He said he expected “there will be considerable changes in the management level. As far as the board is concerned, I think you can assume there will be very considerable changes there.”

A source at NBN Co said today Turnbull simply hasn’t got a lot of respect for Quigley. “Which is a shame, when you look at his record at Alcatel,” the source said.

Turnbull has proposed an NBN that costs $20.4 billion and delivers fibre to street corners compared to the government’s $37.4 billion plan that takes fibre cables all the way into individual homes.

Turnbull has had to defend his policy, announced this week, from widespread criticism that it’s will deliver slower data speeds than the current program and is not sufficiently future-proof.

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