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Former Telstra CEO Returns As NBN Chairman

The Morrison government has reappointed Ziggy Switkowski as chairman and a non-executive director of the NBN Co.

As the rollout of the $51 billion National Broadband Network inches closer to the end, former Telstra CEO Dr Switkowski has been returned to the chairman position to ensure the company hits its stated revenue and rollout targets.

Working alongside NBN Co’s chief executive Stephen Rue, they have until June next year to complete construction of the broadband network.

Previously Switkowski had held the chairman and interim CEO position in October 2013, hand-picked by then communications minister Malcolm Turnbull to move the focus from full-fibre to the copper-optical mix we have now.

After the appointment of Bill Morrow as Chief Executive, Dr Switkowski reverted to the role of non-executive chairman in April 2014.

Switkowski will again be championing the completion of the network saying in a Senate Estimates meeting last October that the full value of the NBN was not assessable until its conclusion.

The NBN was initially designed to deliver its wholesale service through fibre to the node (FTTN) when first announced by the Labor Rudd Government in 2007 for competition in 2021.

Dr Switkowski is hoping to complete the mixed copper-optical fibre to the node (FTTN) wholesale service through ‘the conversion of all households and businesses’ by 2021.

Unfortunately, 500,000 homes are set to wait even longer to be connected to the NBN, with forecasting of the number of connected premises by the end of the financial year 2020 reduced.

In fact, the total number of homes with an active NBN connection is now expected to by 7 million, rather than 7.5 million, according to NBN Co’s corporate plan for 2020-23.

Cashflow positive returns have also been pushed back to 2023 rather than 2022.

In comparison, the 2009 Labor government had predicted a return on investment of 7.1% on revenue of $23.1 billion by 2021.

NBN Co is expecting revenues of $3.7 billion in 2020 and $5.6 billion the following year.

In a press release, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann congratulated Dr Switkowski on his reappointment as the rollout progresses towards its proposed 2020 completion.

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