The $36 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project is lacking a unified governance mechanism to lead it down a single direction, according to Smartnet director, James Kelaher.
He was speaking at a Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications hearing on the NBN in Brisbane.
Smartnet is a specialist business and technology adviser company servicing SMBs that identifies itself as a NBN supporter.
A number of key NBN issues have been overlooked because the government has been obsessing over rolling out fibre to 93 per cent of the population and making a return through providing wholesale broadband services, Kelaher claimed.
One concern is ineffective governance of the NBN and related organisations.
“One of the difficulties with the NBN model – the way it is set up – is the NBN’s exclusive focus is a narrow provisioning of the infrastructure and you’re left with other people having to do the job of making it work,” Kelaher said at the parlimentary hearing.
These include organisations such as NICTA and CSIRO which are funded by the Government but are running their own agendas, he said.
“When I think of the cost of these larger organisations - if they had the opportunity to be aligned with all of this we could leverage of those resources and you could do a lot more with the collective amount of money available,” Kelaher said.
NICTA and CSIRO have both been developing technology that would work in tandem with the NBN. This is the kind of research and development work that would benefit the NBN and affect its adoption.
Some of the areas the Government could stimulate opportunity for R&D investment is telco deliverable content on the NBN, according to the SmartNet director.
Ensuring the framework of Government supported organisations align with one unified path for the NBN is paramount for the project’s success, Kelaher said.
“So much of the focus has been on fibre to the home stuff in many ways the challenge of finding a governance mechanism to see this project through has been pushed to the side,” he said.
“We should really find a governance mechanism that give sufficient confidence to the market and the community that is not going to flip flop all over the place according to the election cycle… I think a lot of it is up in the air.”