NBN chief denies plot afoot to get rid of him
NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley has rejected rumours that the chairman of the board has been plotting to remove him.
"Siobhan [McKenna] and I talk regularly, in fact we were on the phone last night," Mr Quigley said. "The relationship between myself and Siobhan is a good one."
Mr Quigley declined to respond directly when asked whether he trusted Ms McKenna, who reportedly has approached a headhunter to search for a replacement.
"I've seen all those reports and I've seen the Sportsbet [offering odds on who will be his replacement]," Mr Quigley said. "I started on this thing four years ago. I am not going to be here when it finishes in 2021. I will choose my retirement when I choose it."
If the Coalition wins the September election, Mr Quigley faces an uncomfortable situation, given the opposition communication spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, already has made it clear he does not believe Mr Quigley has the appropriate skills and experience to run the company.
It is understood that Mr Quigley believes Labor's mostly fibre-to-the-home network is the superior technology option, but he refused to be drawn on the two political parties' competing plans.
Mr Quigley spoke to Fairfax Media on Thursday afternoon after announcing NBN Co had met its revised targets for the fibre network rollout, having "passed" 207,500 homes and businesses with fibre optic cable.
NBN Co counts as "passed" premises where cable is laid in the street, even when the house or apartment is yet to be connected.
More than 70,000 homes and businesses now use NBN services and the number of people using fibre has increased sevenfold over the past year, NBN Co said.
The revised target was for between 190,000 and 220,000 premises to be passed by June 30. About 93 per cent of NBN involved running fibre to the home, while the remaining 7 per cent, in remote rural and regional areas, used wireless and satellite technology. Mr Quigley conceded the NBN Co had achieved less than half of its target for wireless rollout.
Mr Turnbull rubbished the NBN Co's announcement, referring to reports in The Australian Financial Review that more than 50,000 of the homes and businesses counted as "passed" by fibre could not connect to the NBN.
"The credibility of the management of the NBN is now shattered," Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Quigley said that, even if correct, the reports would not be concerning, as NBN Co had met the official definition of what constituted a "passed" premises.
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