NBN Co board wipeout

A post-election purge of the NBN Co’s board was always on the cards but the final fate of NBN Co chairman Siobhan McKenna and her cohorts has played out in a confusing fashion.

A post-election purge of the NBN Co’s board was always on the cards but the final fate of NBN Co chairman Siobhan McKenna and her cohorts has played out in a confusing fashion.

The revelation yesterday that the NBN Co board had resigned en masse seemed a bit odd. They were always headed for the exit, but were they pushed or did they jump?

The initial report alluded that the board had decided to fall on its sword rather than bear the ignominy of a summary sacking.

However, that theory has now been put to bed and it seems communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has at least delivered on the first of his many promises – cleaning house at NBN Co.

However, one can argue that the predictable exercise could have been played out in a more transparent fashion.

Was it really that hard for the communications minister to respond publicly to the news? One can only hope that it isn’t a sign of things to come, with regards to the NBN review process.

A predictable outcome

Turnbull’s protracted antagonism towards the NBN Co board was always going to lead to this outcome and according to The Australian, he wasted little time in demanding the resignations.

The final straw, according to The Australian, was the NBN Co’s updated business plan which shows further revenue pain and rollout troubles. However, for most of the NBN Co board members their fates were sealed prior to the federal election.

This revised business plan is set to go the way of McKenna and most of the NBN Co board.  

With the NBN Co board now awaiting official confirmation from the cabinet, the ascension of Ziggy Switowski as NBN Co chairman now seems inevitable and he will have two existing NBN Co board members that have escaped Turnbull’s wrath – Kerry Schott and Alison Lansley – too keep him company.

The jury is out on whether Switowski is the right man for the job but he might be the man that Turnbull reckons can orchestrate a speedy resolution to the negotiations with Telstra. That may well prove to be correct, but we will have to wait and see.

The Switowski, Schott, Lansley quorum will allow the NBN Co board to operate as Turnbull picks the rest of the directors. The restructure won’t solve the problems associated with the NBN but as far as the Coalition is concerned it provides a good starting point.

Just what impact this inception point has on our broadband future remains open to interpretation.