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iiNet "furious" over slow NBN rollout

Despite a strong year for the ISP, iiNet's CEO has said he is "furious" about the slow rollout of the NBN in Australia, and "frustrated" by proposed data retention policies.


The head of iiNet has expressed fury at the slow rollout of the NBN, saying that the ISP is "sick of waiting" for the network to become available for Australian customers.

iiNet CEO David Buckingham made the comments following the release of the company's full year profit results, in which iiNet "cracked through the billon dollar mark" in terms of revenue, and grew NBN and fibre customer numbers by 40,000 (year on year).

However, despite having a "proactive approach" to the NBN and maintaining over 20 percent share of the NBN market in Australia, Buckingham said the rollout was too slow.

We're furious about it. I looked at Telstra's results the other day -- I must admit, I was pretty pessimistic for the rest of the day. When a company can make $7.5 billion in free cash, more profit than the cash flow that the whole Vodafone Group made last year, and still get paid $640 million by the Government for the NBN, things are weird in my mind.

NBN needs to get on with the rollout -- we're sick of waiting.

[NBN Co needs to] do everything -- speed up their operational rollout, speed up negotiations -- they really need to start unleashing the plan that they keep putting in front of us.

But amidst the strong earnings figures, the NBN has not been the only point of irritation for iiNet -- Buckingham also expressed frustration with moves by the Federal Government to bring in mandatory data retention and anti-piracy policies that the company has previously described as "the wrong path" for Australia.

While iiNet has been a vocal opponent of both mandatory data retention and compulsory blocking of overseas piracy websites, the company has essentially been alone in this effort, with other ISPs and telcos largely staying silent on the lobbying front.

For his part, Buckingham said he was "frustrated" about having to go solo in taking up the cause.

We come at this completely from one angle and that's our customers, and our customers want us to give them the best choice and the best services. We always look to champion our customer cause and challenge for them.

I guess the frustration about the actual particular issues is lack of thought and clarity around some of the policy statements being made.

We'll continue to push the cause on both of those [mandatory data retention and piracy policies]. Our standard line and our viewpoint is very strongly articulated and already out there, we'll continue pushing that -- we'll take part in any forum that helps solve those problems for our customers.

The ISP last week reminded its customers to make their opposition to the Government's anti-piracy measures known, with public submissions on the policy due to close on September 1, 2014.