Feeds

Ziggy Switkowski appointed NBN Co executive chair

Minister Turnbull turns to former telco CEO as he nukes board and Quigley bails

Build a business case: developing custom apps

As widely predicted, Australia's new communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has appointed Doctor Ziggy Switkowski as executive chair of NBN Co, the entity charged with building the nation's national broadband network (NBN).

The appointment and the title of executive chair means Switkowski is now the leader of NBN Co, as its founding CEO Mike Quigley cleaned out his office today. Switkowski will serve as interim CEO until a permanent appointment is made.

Switkowski was the obvious choice as chair, because he has served as CEO of Australia's two largest telcos, Telstra and Optus. That experience means he fits Turnbull's desire for NBN Co's board to be populated by folks with experience delivering “linear infrastructure”.

The new chairman has decent form building networks: he was at Telstra when it created its ISP brand Big Pond. That effort required plenty of heavy lifting, but little of the wide-scale backhoe deployments the NBN will require.

Turnbull has charged Switkowski with reviewing NBN Co's operations and delivering a report on the true state of theNBN's ongoing deployment within sixty days. The latter task has been made a little easier by the retention of two board members, Kerry Schott and Alison Lansley.

Switkowski's experience makes him a natural for the job, not least because he has served Australia's Liberal/National coalition well in the past. As Telstra CEO he also steered through a privatisation/float of the company, enacting policy of Australia's previous coalition government.

That privatisation is now viewed as a missed opportunity, as it sold off Telstra as a single entity rather than as separate retail and wholesale outfits. By keeping Telstra whole it was able to exercise considerable market power, at one point selling wholesale access to ADSL for a higher price than it offered to direct retail customers and thereby squeezing out emerging rival internet service providers. Keeping Telstra whole did, however, mean it fetched a higher price for the government of the day.

Ironically, NBN Co's structure as a monopoly wholesale network provider is a direct result of Telstra's privatisation, meaning that whatever Switkowski achieves in his new role his name will be intertwined with major developments in Australian communications policy during critical decades. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.