iiNet Slams Lack of Policy Direction for NBN

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Friday, January 31st, 2014
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A senior executive with the biggest supplier of Internet services via the NBN has launched a scathing critique of the lack of concrete policy undergirding its development.

Addressing a Senate select committee in Perth last week Steve Dalby, iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, said that the development of the NBN suffered from a “policy vacuum” as a result of the failure of both the Labor and Coalition governments to outline more detailed objectives or justifications for the infrastructure project.

“Successive governments have struggled to communicate concrete reasons for an investment in the NBN,” said Dalby.

iiNet's Steve Dalby

iiNet’s Steve Dalby

Dalby called for policy-makers to view the NBN as a key pillar for the future economic development of Australia, instead of just a means of expediting the consumption of online content. According to Dalby policy for the project should extend beyond mere operational matters, and outline clear objectives with respect to jobs creation and productivity.

“iiNet does not believe that downloading songs faster or being able to connect multiple televisions should be drivers of national infrastructure.”

“The Australian public, and it seems the parliament, appears to be unsure why the NBN is being built and so discussions are still mired in the operation issues of costs, timetables and technology, rather than national benefits.”

Dalby was also critical of the high turnover rate for senior personnel at NBN Co, which has impeded the ability of the internet service provider to establish an ongoing relationship with the company. This was cited as a reason key behind iiNet’s decision to refrain from signing a major commercial contract to employ the network for delivery of services.

“We still haven’t resolved a lot of commercial issues. We want them resolved and we will continue to push hard.”

“Any success we’ve had has been in spite of the interaction with NBN Co, not because of the help they’ve given us.”

These criticisms from iiNet are especially stinging, given that the internet company is the largest supplier of services via the NBN, with more than 25,000 subscribers signed up.

 

“The Australian public, and it seems the parliament, appears to be unsure why the NBN is being built and so discussions are still mired in the operation issues of costs, timetables and technology, rather than national benefits.”

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