NBN review to be censored before public release

The just-completed strategic review of the NBN will not be made public straight away, despite its imminent delivery to the Coalition government.

The just-completed strategic review of the NBN will not be made public straight away, despite its imminent delivery to the Coalition government.

The roll-out of the NBN will continue as planned until a new decision is made on the network's design. (Credit: NBNCo)

Speaking to ZDNet, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that the report won't be made public immediately, as it contains commercially sensitive information.

The report will apparently be made public eventually but not until it is censored of any information that is "commercial in confidence" in nature. This information could include the quality of Telstra's aged copper network, future plans for Telstra and Optus' hybrid fibre-coaxial networks and the number and roll-out of network nodes needed.

Recently-appointed NBN Co CEO Dr Ziggy Switkowski, speaking at the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network on Friday, told former Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy and the committee that for the strategic review to be complete and credible, it would have to contain a large amount of commercially sensitive information.

Responding to an inquiry from Greens MP Scott Ludlam on the transparency of the review's final report, Switkowski said that it was not possible to say whether the review would contain information that would allow it to be fact checked: "Without pre-empting any decision the government might make, one of the difficulties in disclosing the review in its entirety is that it will have within it costs and positions that are commercially sensitive. So I cannot foreshadow whether a subsequent disclosure will satisfy your interests."

When the NBN strategic review's final report is eventually released to the public, it is likely that it will not contain the critical information on Telstra's copper network that could contribute to a higher price for the Coalition's proposed fibre-to-the-node network than previously suggested.

With the report set to be delivered to the government imminently, former NBN CEO Mike Quigley has spoken out at a Telecommunications Association event to say he believed that in the previous term of government, there were "deliberate efforts to impede the progress of the NBN" on its fibre-to-the-premises roll-out by the Coalition, then in opposition.

 

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