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NBN boss to quit the day before federal election

Tony Cross will wrap up with the NBN on Friday, after two years serving as its chief architect. He oversaw the company's transition from fibre-to-the-home to fibre-to-the-node.


NBN's chief architect, Tony Cross, has resigned from the company. His last day will be Friday -- a day before Australia's federal election.

Cross has been the National Broadband Network's chief architect since 2014, and began with the company in 2010. He's overseen the company's shift from a fast fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network provider to a slower, so-called multi-technology mix of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and hybrid-fibre coaxial networks.

"Tony has been with NBN for more than six years and leaves us with a long list of achievements," NBN said in a statement. "We expect to see him continue to make his mark in the industry and wish him well."

The handling of the NBN is a key topic in the upcoming federal election. The Coalition, led by Malcolm Turnbull, wants to stick to slower mixed technology offerings, claiming it'll be cheaper and quicker to roll out. Conversely, Labor under Bill Shorten have promised up to 2 million FTTH connections if elected.

The news comes a week after Mike Quigley, NBN CEO from 2009 to 2013, called the Coalition's mixed technology model "incredibly short sighted" and "backward-looking". Cross's approach would require an update in the not-too-distant future, Quigley said in a speech at the University of Melbourne.

"The debate in the United States and Asia is about gigabit per second speeds, not about whether 25 or 50 megabits per second is sufficient," he wrote for The Conversation last week, referring to the Coalition often arguing that 25Mbps is fast enough for most of Australia.

Australia's average internet speed was last week reported to have dropped from 30th to the 60th in the world.