Turnbull Coy on NBN Asbestos Legal Claims

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Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
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Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to take marginal seats out of the equation during the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Mr Turnbull says a survey is underway to identify parts of Australia with the worst broadband.

“(Places) where the need for upgrade is greatest, they will be prioritised,” Mr Turnbull said on Sunday.

¬†Another priority will be areas where demand for high speed internet is greatest, such as business and industrial parks.¬† Asked if he would change the previous focus on marginal seats, Mr Turnbull told Network Ten: “Yes”.

“The NBN Co has to start being operated … like a rational business that seeks to do its job as quickly and cost-effectively as possible,” he said.

Mr Turnbull declined to comment on whether there had been legal claims lodged over asbestos scares at NBN construction sites.

Last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott ruled out overturning the ban on Chinese telecom giant Huawei tendering for work on the NBN.

Mr Turnbull said the decision was a question of “managing risk”.

“Other companies and other countries have taken different judgments,” he said.

He admitted that Huawei had in the past undercut the prices of western telco suppliers but stopped short of saying it would be cheaper to build the NBN with Huawei’s involvement.

Mr Turnbull said Vodafone and Optus used Huawei equipment in their Australian networks and they would attest that it worked properly and was cheaper.

“These are things you’ve got to weigh up,” he said.

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