NBN Co Just Demoted Its Chief Fibre Architect

There's a new nail in the coffin of fibre to the premises NBN today. The chief architect behind the original FTTP plan for the National Broadband Network has been removed from his planning position, and his network planning responsibilities have been assumed by a new appointee.

Delimiter reports that Peter Ferris, the brain behind the network planning for NBN Co's fibre to the premises rollout as envisioned by Kevin Rudd's Labor government back in 2009, has been stripped of his responsibilities. He's been moved into a position advising the newly-appointed chief operating officer Greg Adcock during his organisational review of the company.

As executive general manager of planning and design at NBN Co, Ferris was responsible for the overall network design of the nascent National Broadband Network, and remained in his role as the network evolved and changed its construction according to the politics of the day. With the move to a multi-technology mix NBN recently codified by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, it seems as if Ferris is a political casualty rather than having been removed based on his performance or ability.

This is the most recent of several adjustments and redundancies rolled out as part of the restructure of the NBN since the Liberal government's inauguration, starting with the entire board of NBN Co being pushed to resign after the change in government power. It sounds as if Peter Ferris was an entirely capable, respected and technically-minded network engineer, so his loss is a disappointing move.

Ferris gave a great talk at Macquarie University in 2011, debunking some of the myths surrounding the National Broadband Network that persisted at the time. It's an hour-long video, but it serves as a stark reminder of the grand vision that NBN Co and the Labor government had to deliver optical fibre directly to the premises of 93 per cent of Australia's population just five short years ago.