Aus appoints adviser, board members to NBN Co

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Aug 2009

The Australian government has appointed a lead adviser and five new board members to the National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co).

A consortium formed between management consulting firm McKinsey and global professional services firm KPMG has been selected as lead adviser.

Between them, the firms have experience in broadband, complicated infrastructure projects and the telecom sector, Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy said.

But opposition communications spokesperson Nick Minchin said the companies faced a difficult task.

“As well qualified as KPMG and McKinsey are, they face an enormous and potentially impossible task of coming up with a way of implementing Labor’s reckless and hastily dreamt up promise in a responsible and realistic manner,” he said.

The government has also appointed five new members to the NBN Co board.

The appointees include Doug Campell - who has 48 years of telecom industry experience, including 18 years at Telstra - Peter Hay, a regulatory specialist, and Siobhan McKenna, a former McKinsey partner.

The final appointees, Gene Tilbrook and Diane Smith-Gander, were chosen for their financial and management expertise, Conroy said.

The members will sit alongside former Alcatel COO Mike Quigley, who will serve as executive chairman until he takes the reins as the NBN Co's first CEO.

Optus, meanwhile, has submitted a bid for the $250 million backhaul blackspots program. The proposal would see Optus build then operate a network on behalf of the NBN Co, which would retain ownership.

“Optus is keen to lead the deployment of new competitive infrastructure to residential and business customers in many parts of Australia that have suffered from limited or no choice for far too long,” said Maha Krishnapillai, an Optus director.

The NBN Co is building a national FTTH network which would connect up to 90% of Australia's population. The company will be majority-owned and funded by the government, with the remaining investments to come from private companies.

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