Sydney Morning Herald | February 23, 2011 | Clancy Yeates
THE man responsible for rolling out the national broadband network, Mike Quigley, has bluntly rejected opposition claims the $36 billion project is threatened by Telstra’s plans for a super-fast wireless network.
Mr Quigley, the chief executive of NBN Co, weighed into the fierce debate over whether the government has backed the wrong technology by basing its network on fibre cables.
In his first comments since Telstra said it would invest in a 4G network with top speeds rivalling those offered by NBN Co, Mr Quigley yesterday dismissed claims that wireless could meet burgeoning demand from iPads and smart phones.
”Far from proof that fibre will be redundant, the 4G announcement is very good news for the NBN roll-out,” Mr Quigley told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra. ”While people like the convenience of their wireless devices, fixed networks are and will continue to be the workhorse of data download.”
He also attacked the level of public debate on the issue, saying much of it was ”uninformed” and ”ignored the physics and economics of how networks actually work”.
The comments come after the opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, last week said Telstra’s 4G upgrade would undermine the economic viability of the taxpayer-funded network. The risk posed by wireless-only homes was also raised in an otherwise positive independent audit of NBN Co’s business plan.