Will Quigley finally trash the Coalition’s NBN plan?

Mike Quigley's departing statement toes the line on NBN Co just as much as his previous comments. But now it's out, is the founding chief about to open up?

Finally, the day that many NBN followers had seen coming for the better part of the last two years has arrived: Mike Quigley has resigned from his role as CEO of NBN Co.

For the moment, Quigley will stay in his role until NBN Co appoints a successor, but it'll be a wonder if there's any significant wait, given the media speculation that both NBN Co chairwomen Siobhan McKenna and Malcolm Turnbull have been out and about over the past couple of months scoping a replacement.

NBN Co’s statement on the issue is pretty straight forward. In it, Quigley idealises about his time at NBN Co.

“My job was to lay the foundations for the NBN for the next 30 years, that job is largely complete,” it reads.

“NBN Co is now a well-established wholesale telecommunications company with a nationwide workforce, delivery partners, infrastructure agreements, complex IT systems and more than 40 retail customers which are supplying fast, reliable and affordable broadband to a growing number of Australians.”

But as NBN Co insiders told Paul Wallbank, the truth is nothing of the sort. NBN Co is a mess, and whoever replaces Quigley has a heck of a task in front of them.

What’s really interesting about this announcement is that it may foreshadow the moment we’ve been waiting for – the part where Quigley drops the PR line and starts talks candidly about the project.

The pains of dealing with NBN Co’s contractors, his real thoughts about the Coalition’s fibre to the node plan, and, perhaps most importantly, his opinion on how Malcolm Turnbull’s handled the NBN debate – all of this could be revealed at 2pm today, when Quigley fronts media questions at an NBN Co organised press conference.

Technology Spectator has long speculated on this idea that Quigley hit back at the opposition he’s received while running the project. Malcolm Turnbull’s latest tweet really sets the scene for a Quigley backlash.

Graph for Will Quigley finally trash the Coalition’s NBN plan?

There’s still possibility this 2pm conference may run to message though, with the usual accolades and announcements typically seen with any departure presser.

This is because so far, Quigley’s refused to bite when it comes to trashing Turnbull and his Fibre-to-the-Node plan. This is despite Turnbull and the Opposition blatantly calling his company a joke, and openly questioning his appointment as the head of NBN Co.

Quigley’s had ample opportunity to at the various senate estimates hearings on the rollout to point out the fallacies of the Coalition’s arguments and plan, but has so far refused to step outside the bounds of the NBN Co’s impartical message.

In fact, the closest we’ve seen to this happened earlier this year when Quigley went the other way, and raised questions around whether NBN Co’s plan should consider technologies other than fibre.

While this all could happen, one can’t help but think that despite everything that’s been said, Quigley will show some restraint at 2pm today.

Who knows, perhaps he’ll still get the last laugh. Quigley could be saving all of his vitriol for a book that he’ll pen on the network in the next couple of months.

Alan Kohler will be debating Malcolm Turnbull on Coalition NBN policy at a business lunch at the Sheraton Wentworth in Sydney on August 1. To book a ticket click here.