The man in charge of the organisation overseeing construction of Australia’s troubled $43 billion National Broadband Network has quit.
NBN Co Chief Executive Officer Mike Quigley has announced he will retire from his role as soon as a successor can be found to oversee the next stage of the company’s development.
Quigley, who came out of retirement to become the network builder’s founding CEO and has now indicated his intention to return to retirement, says his role in laying the foundations for the network is now finished and the time had come someone else to take over and deliver the next phase of building upon foundations and escalating the rollout program.
“My job was to lay the foundations for the NBN for the next 30 years” Quigley says. “That job is largely complete. NBN Co is now a well-established wholesale telecommunications company with a nationwide workforce, delivery partners, infrastructure agreements, complex IT systems and more than 40 retail customers which are supplying fast, reliable and affordable broadband to a growing number of Australians.”
Though Quigley is well regarded, the NBN rollout has been hit by delays and problems related to asbestos.
Despite initial targets to have passed 341,000 homes this year, only 207,000 homes were passed amid trouble with some construction contractors not delivering upon expectations – a move which forced NBN Co to take back control of the Northern Territory rollout from building partner Syntheo – a joint venture between Lend Lease and infrastructure firm Service Stream.
Then in June, a public furore erupted amid revelations asbestos was being mismanaged in some of the Telstra pits where NBN Contractors were working.
Whilst Telstra rather than NBN Co was assigned most of the blame, remediation efforts have caused further delays and ignited debate as the Coalition claimed its alternative NBN would involve less pit disruption and therefore be safer.
Nevertheless, federal government ministers praised Quigley’s efforts, saying he intuitively understood what all infrastructure builders know in that ‘you do it once and you do it right’.
"Mr Quigley was instrumental in negotiating the deal with Telstra which has paved the way for the NBN rollout” Broadband Minister Anthony Albanese and Finance Minister Penny Wong said in a statement.
"Over the past four years, Mr Quigley has also successfully managed the switching on of fibre, fixed wireless and satellite connections right across the country, as NBN Co has established the full scale rollout of the National Broadband Network.”