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Business Spectator commentator Alan Kohler has suggested that a spat between Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo and the Telstra board resulted in the carriers bid for the National Broadband Network being stuffed up.

Kohler says that, “It’s very interesting that when Telstra lodged its ‘proposal’ for the national broadband network three weeks ago, CEO Sol Trujillo was nowhere to be seen but now that it has been ruled out, Trujillo is doing the briefings.  This gives some weight to industry rumours that the CEO didn’t want to bid at all but was rolled by the board.”

Late this morning Prime Minister Kevin Rudd responded to Telstra claims that the Government was using a peripheral issue to block it from winning the tender. But Mr Rudd has said the decision was made by an independent panel assessing all of the bids and the project is still on track. “We’ve regarded this as a necessary investment in the nation’s infrastructure and we would do so on the basis of a competitive tender process,” he said.

“That panel that’s been at work has been full at arm’s length from Government and has reached its own conclusions.
“We’re determined to implement our pre-election commitment and we’ll do so consistent with the process that we’ve initiated and the recommendations of the panel.”

Kohler claims that when the proposal went in with 15 minutes to spare on November 26, Sol Trujillo had left the country in a huff, according to those rumours, and left Chairman Donald McGauchie to do the interviews and briefings.

Now that Telstra is not in the game and is merely heckling from the peanut gallery, Sol Trujillo is back as lead heckler.

 

That would also explain why Telstra’s bid was a total stuff-up.

Trujillo and McGauchie are saying today that the reason for excluding their bid – the lack of small business plan – was trivial, and so it was. Sol Trujillo and Donald McGauchie are quite right: this process has a long way to run, and the bids that were due in by November 26 were really just opening gambits in what will be a long negotiation.

So why not stay in the process by doing a “trivial” small business plan? Because it was a stuff up.

Kohler has also forecast a bonanza for the legal fraternity claiming that a long period of litigation can now not be avoided. Whoever wins the right to build the fibre-to-the-node NBN will be held up by a High Court challenge from Telstra on every conceivable ground – leading off with a defence of its property rights against the requirement that its copper phone services be switched across to someone else’s fibre within each node.

See Business Spectator story at BUSINESS SPECTATOR

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