All members of NBN Co board have submitted their resignations to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Fairfax Media reported.
Mr Turnbull had yet to accept the resignations but his decision is due at a cabinet meeting early October. Mr Turnbull had vocally blamed the NBN Co board and its executive team for massive cost blowouts, timetable delays and for contractors losing money.
Mr Turnbull was particularly critical of NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley. However, Mr Quigley retired in July which left all the blame on NBN Co chairwoman Siobhan McKenna. Mr Quigley had envisioned emerging problems with the Coalition as polls indicated a Coalition landslide as early as July. But he resigned after signing a new three-year contract with NBN Co.
Mr Turnbull said that Ms McKenna is short of skills to handle rolling out major telecommunications programs. According to Mr Turnbull she has "no experience."
In July, Mr Turnbull also dropped hints of firing other board members.
Mr Turnbull was eyeing former Telstra boss Dr. Ziggy Switkowski as "highly qualified" and "eminently suitable" to be appointed head of the NBN Co. However, Mr Turnbull refused to confirm whether the Coalition will truly appoint Dr Switkowski.
FTTP vs FTTN
The Coalition plans to change the NBN from Labor's fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) model to a slower but cheaper fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) model.
If it is indeed that Mr Switkowski will be chosen as the new head, he plans to do a forensic audit of NBN Co immediately to scrutinise the ownership structure. This plan will possibly include the private sector being invited to have equity to support the budget roll out. This will also require a renegotiation of the Telstra/NBN deal to create copper access, compensation and create an all new roll out platform.
Early in Sept, a petition by Queensland University student Nick Paine - appealing for the Coalition to endorse the FTTP model - reached 25,000 signatures.
Mr Turnbull was adamant to push through with the FTTN model in spite of the petition.
"The promoters of this petition apparently believe that we should ignore the lengthy public debate on the NBN that preceded the election and also ignore the election result. [That] we should, within days of the election, walk away from one of our most well-debated, well-understood and prominent policies. Democracy? I don't think so," Mr Turnbull said.
To contact the editor, e-mail: