They say a week is a long time in politics; and so too in the Australian telecommunications industry.

On Monday, Don McGauchie confirmed he has formally begun the process of finding a replacement for Sol Trujilo. With the departure last year of Phil Burgers, then recently his right hand man in Greg Wynn, the time has come for the last of the three Amgios to also call it a day. Perhaps with his departure some compromise can be achieved with a new direction for Australia's incumbent telco.

The one thing that will be Trujillo's legacy at Telstra was his almost relentless attack on the Government and ACCC over regulation of the telecommunications industry and the company he lead in particular.

Tuesday saw Optus mention it would consider an alliance with the two other national biggers to build the federal government's national broadband network. However the group may have to wait for some time because of the constraints under the RFP guidelines. A joint venture between the three parties would deliver the best outcome for Australia. Axia could build their proposed backhaul network, Optus offer the access network (which they already have a good coverage with the ULL, HFC, Mobile and Satellite and Acacia the network operator delivering truely Open Access to the market.

Wednesday saw our Communications Minister reiterate that is was the Government's "ambition" to sign a contract by the end of March, after a prolonged attack be Senator Minchin in which he repeatedly questioned Minister Conroy when the Federal Government would be ready to sign a contract with a successful tenderer.

It has previously been reported in many circles - including on this blog - that Optus, Axia and Acacia may seek regulatory guarantees before signing a contract with the Government. Considering the upper house is still controlled by the opposition parties who so far have been vehemently opposed to the National Broadband Network, I don't think anyone will be signing a $10b contract based on promises which the Government cannot guarantee will be passed.

On Thursday, Senator Nick Minchin - Shadow communications minister - introduced a motion which would require the government to immediately furnish the Expert Group's report to the Senate. After a compromise was reached with Family First Senator Stephen Fielding, the motion was passed requiring the report to instead be published the day after the NBN tender is awarded.

Minchin said Conroy had failed to deliver on claims that the NBN process would be open and transparent. In a statement Minchin said, “While I maintain this advice should be publicly released before a successful tenderer is chosen, the Senate has agreed that at the very least they should be tabled immediately after a winning bid is announced”, further adding “Public scrutiny of this crucial advice to the government will enable a proper assessment of whether Labor is acting truly in the national interest and not purely in its short-term political interest.”


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