They just keep on quitting:
NBN Co loses wireless exec


blog When NBN Co was a fresh young thing in April 2009, executives and technical professionals of all stripes all around Australia were itching to get on board. After all, what more interesting company could there be to work for, than one which is being started from scratch yet has a budget in the tens of billions, on a mission that will affect every Australian? However, fast-forward three years and it seems like every week or so another senior NBN Co executive flies the coop, with the political uncertainty around the project increasing every day. This week, the AFR reports (we recommend you click here for the full article), it’s Joe Prelc, who had been leading the wireless portion of the NBN rollout:

“The AFR Weekend understands that Joe Prelc, who has led the project since its early stages in 2010, stepped aside last week. He reported directly to NBN Co chief technology officer, Gary McLaren.”

Despite the protestations of NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley to the contrary, what we hear from inside NBN Co is that morale at the company is at rock bottom at the moment; and who can blame NBN Co’s several thousand staff for that? Their work is slandered daily in the media, the rollout itself is suffering delays, and there is no doubt that Malcolm Turnbull will run the broom through the company if the Coalition wins power in the upcoming September Federal Election. Personally, however, if I was at NBN Co, I would be doing my best to stick it out. Remember, it’s not how you perform in easy times that is the mark of your quality. It’s when the going gets tough, that the tough really get going.


  1. Hardly surprising ppl are jumping ship with an impending LNP government coming that is likely to tip the company on it’s head and divert it to rolling out FTTN!

    • That doesnt explain this departure, the coalition policy is pretty similar as far as wireless goes.

      And dont give up on Labors vision of the NBN, it has been one of the most popular policies in decades of politics. Just because the libs say the want to change it, first they have to win, second they have to have the political will to go through with their promise to dismantle the popular ALP policy, and thirdly its not clear they will be able to dismantle without great cost to the country given the policy was crafted with this threat in mind.

      • They’re leaving because they know they’re being used as pawns in a ‘Game of Thrones’ not the previous ‘benefit for the greater good’ like the probably signed on for.

  2. “Remember, it’s not how you perform in easy times that is the mark of your quality.”

    That may be true but I’m not sure it applies in this situation. I’m sure that the Titanic’s violin players thought the same thing while they played on, but the ship sank anyway.

  3. I feel sorry for the people at NBNCo it must be hard to basically be Malcolm Turnbull and the entire Coalition’s whipping boy not to mention the Media the amount of positive articles on the job you are doing in the mainstream media can be counted on one hand.

    It is sad that more space is given to climate change deniers and a dog riding a surfboard than people with a positive view on the NBN project. The sad thing is that there are so many positives that these guys are delivering are slandered on a daily basis mainly by Malcolm Turnbull.

  4. When MT was on Triple J Hack talking to I think Steven (could be wrong) from iinet, he was saying that the FTTP is a good investment for Australia and MT was saying back that if it’s such a good investment why don’t you invest in it with iinet. I was shouting at the radio for 1 NBNCo isn’t privatised and on the share market, 2 who the hell would invest in NBNCo before an election that would probably see it being torn to pieces.
    Argh anyway sorry for ranting off.

    Yes I feel sorry for them too, tough times ahead.

    • I heard that interview. Turnbull was a downright ahole to him. I have seen comments about how MT is to be pittied for all the abuse he gets from “NBN Zealots”. The name “Zealot” and a lot of other insults and put downs of the tech community have come from Turnbull. If he is going to be as nasty to anyone that doesn’t agree with him then he should expect the same back. It’s not his points or arguments that really annoy most people I know, it’s that he is such a rude, condescending prick.

  5. “Personally, however, if I was at NBN Co, I would be doing my best to stick it out.”

    Based on the statements made by Turnbull, and the clear delight he, and the media are taking to make the lives of every single NBNco employee miserable, regardless of the effort they put in, it’s not very surprising.

    You can only exist in a toxic environment for so long. NBNco should be held to high-account to ensure either policy is implemented, sure. But it’s gone well beyond that. They have been politicised and turned into a expensive political football.

    • I would consider the term Punching bag more appropriate.
      Unfortunately sitting targets for the Bullies in our midst

  6. “Personally, however, if I was at NBN Co, I would be doing my best to stick it out.”

    Me too. The more policy Tony put’s out, the better things look for Labor really, as none of his policy so far is living up to the expectations of business, or even a lot of Liberal supporters.

  7. While this is certainly interesting, people leave companies all the time for all sorts of reasons. This just gets more attention because of the political football that is the NBN at the moment.

    • This is normal industry practice and only to be described as ‘interesting’?

      “It is understood at least five ­members of NBN Co’s 52-person ­communications team have left in recent weeks and as many as five ­senior executives have left in the past year. including head of industry engagement Jim Hassell and head of construction Dan Flemming.”

        • @Fibroid
          Considering 3-4 years is a standard executive term and we’re 3-4 years from start of the company…..actually, yes, it is normal.

          I’ve no doubt some did leave because of low morale. But I’ve also no doubt just as many left because they were only interested in being involved in a startup company for example.

  8. Might as well forget the FTTP dream people, these Murdoch and LNP stooges have won. Was a nice dream but alas seems that all it was, (except for the lucky people that already have it) we now must wake up and realise that we are in-fact tied up and bent over a table with Tony, Mal and Rupert taking turns to sodomise us with their (FTTN) meat sticks… Such a shame.


  9. Well if your future employer was saying in the media and at every chance they got, that they are going to clean house (and you were essentially being under paid to being with) wouldn’t you be looking for work elsewhere rather than leave it until the last minute? Leaving oneself unemployed and an easy scape goat?

    I’ve worked in National Tech companies which have been bought out and undergone similar and larger levels of people ‘leaving’ (before and just after the acquisition). As has been said the number for the NBN so far isn’t that high and under the circumstances is quite low imho.

    Only time will tell whether its the ‘rats’ or the ‘cream’ leaving. Sadly my money is on the latter.

    • That is one appointment that may happen, you also forgot to mention that he is a ex Optus CEO as well.

    • Saw that, almost pissed myself laughing, wonder how long it will take the fair and balanced Turnbull to bring back Solly and the amigos…

      All the Mal fanboys forget, the libs have form screwing the joint over to help out their mates, not recently, but for a century. Its in their blood. Just takes longer for the press to out them , they have mates there too, unlike their clumsy Labor equivalents, who are more stupid than corrupt.

      Under the mild mannered exterior, Turbull is a merchant banker, a big end of town ranking fat boy, and he will shot the nbn in any form without spitting on the ground we plebs walk on if it suits his own agenda…

      …winters coming, and in 12 months time wait for the frost on your modems, baby

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