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The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) is an Australian government department. It is the primary replacement for the former Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) which was disbanded in 2007. The department’s policy areas include:

  • Broadband policy and programs
  • Postal and telecommunications policies and programs
  • Spectrum policy management
  • Broadcasting policy
  • National policy issues relating to the digital economy
  • Content policy relating to the information economy



Senator Stephen Conroy- Email:


HiBIS was an initiative of the Australian Government that provided registered Internet service providers (ISP’s) with incentive payments to supply higher bandwidth services in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia at prices comparable to those available in metropolitan areas. ISP’s that registered with HiBIS received an incentive payment for each registered HiBIS service provided to an eligible customer. Providers were able to use these incentive payments to reduce the price of existing broadband services like satellite or to roll out new broadband infrastructure like ADSL or wireless local loops, where consumer demand might otherwise have been insufficient to justify such investments.

National Broadband Network

In June 2007, (after Rudd victory over Howard in the election) a landmark funding and legislative initiative was announced by the Department, stating that 99% of the Australian population will have fast, affordable broadband by June 2009. Australia Connected will be a new national high speed wholesale network, independent of current service providers, aiming to deliver 12Mb speeds using ADSL2, fibre, and wireless connections.

6th August 2009: The Rudd Government announced the appointment of five new directors to the board of NBN Co Limited – the company established to deliver the National Broadband Network.

Board Appointments

The directors are Mr Doug Campbell, Mr Peter Hay, Ms Siobhan McKenna, Ms Diane Smith-Gander and Mr Gene Tilbrook.

The five new directors will join the Executive Chair, Mr Michael Quigley, on the board. Mr Quigley has also been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of NBN Co.

“These appointments move us to an important next stage in the implementation of this historic nation-building infrastructure project,” the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said.

“Mr Quigley and the five new directors bring a strong set of skills necessary for a task of this scale and importance.”

“The NBN Co Board will help drive the rollout of the National Broadband Network and guide the development of company operations,” the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner said.

“These Board appointees are expertly qualified and experienced to establish this important component of our future economic infrastructure.”

Senator Conroy and Mr Tanner acknowledged the contributions made by the interim directors, who will be replaced by the incoming directors.


Mike Quigley (Appointed Executive Chairman of NBN CO)

Mike Quigley was born in Kent, England in 1953. He is an Australian citizen, and is married with three daughters. Mr Quigley was educated at the University of NSW with a B.Sc in Mathematics and Physics, and a B.E (Hons 1) in Electrical Engineering. Mr Quigley’s early career with STC (before it was acquired by Alcatel) was in the area of R&D and technical management. He then took on progressively more senior general management roles in Australia before becoming responsible for Alcatel's business in Australia and New Zealand.

In 1999 Mr Quigley became COO and then President and Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel USA. In 2003 Mr Quigley became President of Alcatel's Fixed Communications Group in Paris, responsible for infrastructure products including network switches and optical communications systems. He was then promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Alcatel at a time when the business recorded revenue of Euro 13Bn and employed more than 55,000 people in 130 countries.

In November 2006 Alcatel merged with Lucent. After supporting the new CEO through the initial phases of the merger, Quigley then resurfaced in Australia in January 2007 when he was appointed a director of NICTA spin-out company Audinate. According to its web site, its “pioneering Dante technology uses ethernet and Internet protocol standards to make digital audio networking easy, intuitive, cost-effective and error-free with no need for any specialised knowledge.”

Announcing his appointment the Government said “During the course of his career, Mr Quigley has led the development and integration of large scale FTTP and FTTN implementations for some of the largest US carriers…He has had to make the difficult decisions. During his career, Mike has managed the acquisition of numerous technology assets and knows how to value such assets from both a technical and financial perspective. He also has extensive experience in regulatory issues and telecommunications standards setting.”

Mr Quigley will remain a Non Executive Director of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute.

Doug Campbell

Mr Campbell brings significant telecommunications experience and expertise to the National Broadband Network project.

Mr Campbell was awarded an Order of Australia for his service to business and to the community, particularly as a contributor to the development of communications services in regional and remote areas of Australia. He was the founding group managing director and key architect of Telstra Country Wide.

Mr Campbell has 48 years of industry experience: 30 years in Canada competing with established telecommunications providers, and 18 years in Australia as a senior executive at Telstra.

The Government recently announced Mr Campbell’s appointment as Chair of Tasmanian NBN Company Limited (TNBN Co), a new company which will be established and jointly owned by NBN Co and Aurora Energy to rollout the NBN in Tasmania.

Peter Hay

Mr Hay brings substantial legal and regulatory experience that will be crucial in establishing and operating NBN Co. He will also contribute 20 years experience from working on a wide range of companies and other boards.

His background in company law and investment banking, and his substantial experience built up over 30 years in the legal profession, will be a huge asset to NBN Co.

Mr Hay is a former Chief Executive Officer of law firm Freehills. Previously, he practised company law with a particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions. He spent much of 1993 to 1999 advising governments and government-owned enterprises on industry reform and preparing for and implementing energy sector privatisation.

Mr Hay brings to the NBN Co board considerable legal experience and advisory skills in relation to public company takeovers, corporate governance matters and risk management.

Siobhan McKenna

Ms McKenna brings an excellent breadth of local and international experience, including consulting, commercial, and government roles to the NBN Co board. Ms McKenna was appointed a part-time Commissioner of the Productivity Commission in June 2009, working on the Social and Economic Infrastructure Services study, which is part of a five year rolling review of regulatory burdens on business.

Previously, Ms McKenna was a Partner at McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm, where she provided advice to companies on productivity matters and the development of effective regulatory strategies. She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Diane Smith-Gander

Ms Smith-Gander brings a depth of experience in financial, commercial and management consulting to the NBN Co board. Previously, she was head of Westpac Banking Corporation’s Business & Technology Solutions & Services division.

Before rejoining Westpac, Ms Smith-Gander was a Partner with McKinsey & Company in the USA where she led major transformation projects with a focus on post merger integration (including IT integration) and organisational restructuring. In this role, she served some of the most complex merger integrations and restructures internationally in industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, high tech and chemicals.

Between 1990 and 2000 she worked for Westpac in a range of executive level roles. Prior to 1990, she worked in Sydney and Hong Kong for PA Consulting Group, focusing on performance improvement for retail financial institutions.

Ms Smith-Gander is a board member of Basketball Australia and a past chairperson of the Australian Sports Drug Agency.

Gene Tilbrook

Mr Tilbrook brings substantial financial, valuation and capital management experience to the NBN Co board. The breadth and depth of his business experience in corporate strategy and finance, acquisitions and capital projects will be crucial in establishing and operating NBN Co.

While at Wesfarmers Limited, a major Australian-listed company with diversified interests, he was Finance Director from 2005 to 2009, and prior to that Director, Business Development. During his time at Wesfarmers, Mr Tilbrook was involved in many of the transactions that made Wesfarmers a successful diversified group, as well as corporate planning, information technology and project financing.

Previously he worked in corporate finance and systems engineering.

Mr Tilbrook is also a councillor of Curtin University of Technology and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Western Australia division; and a member of the boards of the Perth International Arts Festival and Committee for Perth.


Well, the NBN is a rip off.. Again!

Sheeeeesh.. Talk about unfair practices.. How about fixing the 5% not already covered with broadband BEFORE you speed up the cities!

Cos they won't "Spend a penny out here!"

But you see that will cost real money. The politicians are still up to their old tricks. Making BILLIONS disappear into thin air!

Same old rural dialup??

The 99% claimed coverage has now been downgraded to 95%. I suppose the NBN will make it faster for those lucky enough to live in the 95% coverage area…

Non Intergrated Telstra RIM Exchanges

But what about the rest of us!!.. I guess we still get stuck with the Telstra RIM (half speed) dialup??

Quote:"The ACCC made clear in its report that its hands were tied over the pair gain issue. But it implicitly acknowledged that the minimum requirements for a Telstra phone line were completely inadequate, and therefore could not take any action because Telstra was meeting these minimal obligations. It's now clear that the problem lies with the government, which has not upgraded the minimum standards for phone lines as technology has become an essential part of our society."

See: ACCC: Pair Gain Report October 2002 - (20KB PDF)

Nothing has changed since 2002? Telstra can still install pair gain technology because the Government(s) have failed to impliment changes in Communications Legislation that reflect the needs of consumers.

But cities already have BB!!

So tell me exactly how the BILLIONS spent actually IMPROVE things over ADSL2 for you people in the cities??? Ohh.. I see.. You get it faster than ever..

Rural: Dialup, Wireless, Satellite

But out here in the 5% non coverage area. 31.2 kbps connect dialup, High latency Satellite and Telstra’s overpriced Next G wireless are the only options.

Offer HiBIS again.. Fund it properly!

The HiBIS scheme may have actually worked with some $$$ thrown into it. But the (Howard) Government refused to fund it properly. So many many people were unable to take advantage of obtaining (blah/yuck) satellite/wireless internet. When we applied for HiBIS we were advised that funding had run out! (for this financial year…) Schemes like this need to be funded properly. HiBIS wasn’t. The Rudd Government failed to fund HiBIS. Touting their NBN (National Broadband Network) as an instant replacement. (Which it still isnt 2 years after)

Make Telstra bring back ISDN

The Howard and Rudd Governments also allowed Telstra to kill ISDN. Which forced many ISDN users onto more expensive Wireless or Satellite solutions.

Embrace New Technology

I wish whoever is in control of the Australian Government would embrace the internet rather than filter it and attempt to slow down the uptake of the medium.

Is this mind control?

However, you would have to be pretty obtuse if you can not see the pattern of control the Australian Governments have attempted to inflict upon the Australian people.

I once believed the slowdown here was simply due to financial burdens of infastructure development. Telstra simply couldn’t equip exchanges fast enough to cope with demand for DSL.

Though I never understood how a Government owned company like Telstra was at that time, could decently impose such strangle hold over communications in this country. Obviously this was to the Government(s) own policy?

Now I’m starting to think that “THEY” liked Australia being an isolated island. “THEY” liked to be able to control the public emotions via their controlled media. They seek to return to their ancient ways?

What shall we "diss-allow" today?

But, with the Government now “filtering” whatever THEY deem inappropriate!!

Well.. S#!t.. Looks like I only “thought” I lived in a Democratic country… :(

So so sad to really realise (especially after that disgracful John Howard) that the other side are the same bloody side.

Same goals.. Same “blind eye” corporate buddies.. Same nutty religious values.. Same “self serving” scams…

Exactly who is the enemy?

Is Australia a democracy or a dictatorship? The lines are getting very blurred nowadays..

Know your enemy

The rich, (or those that act in the rich people’s interests) must be really worried about their Global Economic Meltdown or something.. Because (I notice during Question time in Parliament) they are really becoming quite feral.

The Minister of DBCDE, Senator Stephen Conroy is particularly evasive to questions asked by the Opposition. I would love for him to give a straight answer for once.

Instead he childishly uses this time to attack the Opposition for daring to ask him questions relating to his portfolio. Normally I don’t support the Liberal/National Party Opposition in their attempts to discredit Labour Governments. But Senator Stephen Conroy is so evasive. I now wonder what he hides?

Whatever his reasons. In future I would like to see Senator Stephen Conroy at least attempting to answer Opposition questions honestly and fairly.

One thing I find particularly annoying is that as the Minister of the Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy deletes emails addressed to him without reading them.

Now isn’t that tragic?

It perhaps wouldn’t be so bad if the Government DID NOT provide an email address. But they do. By deleting emails without reading them, Stephen Conroy displays a total disregard for the input of public opinion.

To me.. This attitude is a reflection of how the Rudd Government is involved in running Australia. But Australians are used to being treated this way by both major political parties. Thats why so many of my fellow Aussies are blogging I guess.

2010-03-31 Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

More Cock Ups

Digital TV

Senator Stephen Conroy as the Minister of this Government Department is responsible for the Proposed switch to digital television as a complete replacement for analogue.

Let me tell you how bad the Television is here in the South East of South Australia.

On the Analogue system. The images are quite fuzzy. However we are pimarily using “rabbit ears” and amplified variations.

If we invested the capital into a decent external antenna with a booster, cabling, splitter boxes, etc. We would probably be able to receive a decent enough image.

On the digital with rabbit ears and/or suitibly amplified “bits of wire”. The image is almost perfect. I say almost because occasionally we get these digital glitches that make an extremely loud chopping or scratching noise. Then the audio goes out of phase with the still excellent image. Requiring a reset of the digital set top box. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too many times a week.

Then there is the weather. When the wind is blowing. The digital signal becomes intermittant. Resulting in lots of loud popping noises without much of anything else. Complete loss of image etc. Of course because we are using the “rabbit ears” it must be the source of the digital signal that is being compromised.

In other words. Digital TV is like everything else Senator Stephen Conroy touches. In my opinion it’s another half assed production.

Obviously if they are having “issues” with signal degredation on newly installed systems. Then one must wonder how these systems are going to perform over a prolonged timeframe?

To turn off the analogue systems later this year is premature. (Our area is one of the first to be effected)

The problem at the tranmission site of some of the Digital Services would have been reported many times. This has as yet to be addressed or rectified. Intermittant quality continues to be observed at this location.

No we are not ready here in the South East to play the guinea pig for Senator Stephen Conroy.

I strongly suggest that he fixes this mess before he creates “another reason” for the electorate to “scream for his head”.

Submissions to DBCDE (Senator Stephen Conroy)

Checkout the submissions.. Some are quite funny..


Here… Have a iframe of it…

One of the submissions I found interesting was from the “Australian Christian Lobby”. (A group I thought was responsible for this fiasco in the first place..)


Seems they have seen the pandora’s box open and support a non-government independent review panel with transparency in place.

Well.. sigh and hmmmmm

Comments on 2010-03-31 Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Much as I’d like to, you can’t actually blame Stephen Conroy for Digital Television in this country.

The real history, as I understand it, was pretty much to do with Kerry Packer and John Howard sitting down over a couple of glasses of beer and deciding that the digital system which every other country on the face of the planet was too good for us, so we should get one that was much more limited. I’m sure if you look for the details you could find it.

So, blame Howard and Packer. What’s good for big media is usually bad for everyone else.

Reg. Unknown UTC.

Quote: “In essence, Howard and Coonan are returning to the Alston Mark I crude favour change to the cross-media restrictions, while ignoring every caveat the Productivity Commission said should accompany it.

What is proposed is nothing more than a bit of dirty home-town play for the principal benefit of the major incumbents. In practice, were these changes to come about, it would mean that ordinary bods would need the Packer and Murdoch organisations to stamp their passports for their free movement through Australian society.”

See: The Age September 29, 2005: Packer and Murdoch to win from Howard's changes

lazerzap. 2010-04-14 18:38 UTC.

Reg.. Stephen Conroy is still responsible for the way the “Phaseout” of Analogue TV is about to happen.. and Digital TV is only 50-75% in rural areas. I just think its another example of Senator Conroys failings.

lazerzap. 2010-04-14 18:58 UTC.

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