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The i3 Group, this year dumped from building a fibre network in Brisbane, is back on the sales trail in Australia. The company has claimed that using utility ducts could slash 60 pecent off the deployment costs of the NBN and reduce deployment times by 50 percent.

i3 is lobbying the Australian government against the use of Telstra infrastructure for the National Broadband Network (NBN) deployment.

It says that using Telstra’s access infrastructure represents an unnecessary cost burden, and advises that NBN Co considers using cheaper state-owned water utility pipes.

Its intervention in the debate come as NBN Co negotiates final terms with Telstra in an A$11 billion deal which will see NBN Co use Telstra ducts and infrastructure as the carrier progressively shuts down its copper network and migrates customers onto the NBN.

CEO Elfed Thomas said “even if we can save 10 percent, it’s still a significant cost saving for whoever ultimately constructs the NBN.” Thomas has written to Senator Stephen Conroy and to MP Rob Oakshott, who heads the independent committee into the broadband rollout, offering the use of his company’s technology.

Thomas claims that on i3’s best estimates on cost modeling, that “costs to deliver the current NBN could easily double and the alternative would be to scale back the NBN footprint and leave many communities in the telecoms wilderness.”

He also pitched his company as offering a bargaining chip in NBN Co's commercial negotiations with Telstra.

Meanwhile NBN Co has selected a panel of suppliers to support its recruitment activities, which will see 1000 new job positions filled in the next 12 months.

"As we shift from planning to constructing and operating the network our requirements increase and we expect to hire an additional 1,000 employees over the next 12 months. Having a well-credentialed panel of experts complements our internal database of over 15,000 individuals who have applied to work at NBN Co," said NBN Co’s Head of Corporate Services, Kevin Brown.

The new positions are across construction, tech ops, telco / IT and corporate services. ®

Top three mobile application threats

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