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NBN CEO Bill Morrow to step down at the end of 2018

After more than four years heading up one of Australia's most politicised projects, the CEO of NBN Co will step down at the end of this year.

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NBN CEO Bill Morrow will step down at the end of the 2018 calendar year. 

NBN

NBN CEO Bill Morrow has announced he will step down from the role by the end of the year after more than four years at the helm.

"I believe that as the company prepares to confront the new challenges ahead, this is the right time to hand over the reins for the next phase of this incredible project and for me to plan for the next step in my career," he said in a media statement on Wednesday.

The former Vodafone Australia CEO joined NBN Co in December 2013 at a massive turning point in the history of the project -- the government had just completed a strategic review of the NBN rollout and would subsequently announce a major switch, ditching Labor's full-fibre rollout in favour of a "multi-technology mix" using copper-connected fibre to the node as well as HFC. 

What followed was a period of political turmoil for the already heavily politicised project with Morrow, the public face of a company that copped much criticism. 

Both sides of politics (and seemingly all corners of Australia) were debating the relative merits of an NBN that would come sooner and at less cost, versus a network that would bring full-fibre speeds to all Australians (but with a tax-payer bill to match). 

The project also faced its share of setbacks and scandals in Morrow's time, including increased customer complaints, a high-profile ditching of legacy HFC networks acquired from Optus (and a later pause on HFC connections due to wide-spread problems with the technology), complaints about fibre to the node speeds and even AFP raids over NBN documents

But in a letter to NBN staff, seen by CNET, Morrow praised his team for pulling together to "overcome obstacles in the face of adversity like nothing I've ever seen before.

"I know the reason you work so hard isn't so much about building a network, it's about closing the digital divide and narrowing the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. It's about all Australians having greater access to education, health care, career opportunities, entertainment and feeling more connected than ever before," he wrote. 

Morrow also noted NBN Co had increased access to the broadband network from 500,000 to 6.5 million homes during his tenure. NBN Co's final goal is to get to 8 million "happy homes" by 2020, but that's no longer a job for Bill Morrow.

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