news The National Broadband Network Company has appointed a new chief technology and security officer who has extensive experience running a HFC cable network but little with other forms of network deployment, in a move which mirrors the Coalition’s changed focus for the company’s network rollout.
In a statement issued this morning, NBN Co announced that it had appointed Dennis Steiger as its new chief technology and security officer. Up until January Steiger was the chief technology officer of Canadian telco Shaw Communications, where the executive has worked since June 1994. Previous to that point Shaw was a senior engineer with Canadian telco TELUS. Steiger will join NBN Co on 21 July.
“As NBN Co prepares to move to the Multi Technology Mix NBN, Mr Steiger brings to the company more than 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications and technology industries and extensive experience working across different access systems technologies,” NBN Co said. “Mr Steiger will report to Chief Operating Officer Greg Adcock.”
Steiger will replace previous NBN Co chief technology officer Gary McLaren, a respected executive who joined NBN Co in September 2009. McLaren was outed from NBN Co as part of an extensive management reshuffle in April that also saw the company’s head of commercial Kevin Brown, chief financial officer Robin Payne and master network architect Peter Ferris leave the company.
Shaw Communications is one of Canada’s largest telcos, and provides telephone, Internet and television services primarily over its HFC cable infrastructure. The company is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, but also provides services in British Columbia and other areas of Alberta, as well as Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario.
Under the Coalition’s current broadband policy, which has been modified drastically since the Federal Election, NBN Co is likely to acquire the HFC cable networks owned by both Telstra and Optus, entrenching the strength of those networks and making them the default mode of network access in much of Australia’s metropolitan area.
Shaw’s current product set is broadly consistent with products expected to be launched over the HFC cable infrastructure once NBN Co gets access to it. The company offers broadband plans with speeds of 10Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 250Mbps, but with only relatively slow upload speeds consistent with the technical limits of HFC cable infrastructure; for example, the 250Mbps plan offers upload speeds of just 15Mbps.
It does not appear as though Shaw or Steiger personally has significant direct experience deploying the Fibre to the Premises, Fibre to the Node and Fibre to the Basement options which NBN Co is using for the remainder of its rollout.
This morning, NBN Co also announced it had taken the extraordinary step of hiring one of the most senior executives of media organisation News Corp Australia to be its new chief financial officer, in a move which appears destined to bolster theories about the Coalition’s close connections with the Murdoch publishing empire — and especially with regard to links with pay television giant Foxtel, which is jointly owned by News Corp and Telstra.
Steiger’s additional security title also comes as Delimiter had recently received an anonymous tip to the effect that NBN Co was seeking to dismantle its Principal Security Office and redistribute the security-focused staff who worked in the division through other departments within NBN Co.
Yet another appointment which signals the future direction of NBN Co — into HFC cable. Things could not get clearer at this point. Again, I am sure Steiger is a highly competent executive. But he certainly appears to have specialised highly on HFC cable technology during his career.
Image credit: Dennis Steiger