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Tuesday, 15 December 2009 05:49

Cisco CTO Bloch hung out to dry on NBN comments

By
Cisco Systems' corporate chieftains have disowned comments made by its Australian chief technology officer Kevin Bloch critical of the technical direction being taken in the $43 billion national broadband network rollout.

Cisco Australia-New Zealand's Melbourne-based vice-president Les Williamson says Bloch comments, while made in "good faith", did not take into account the industry consultation process.

Speaking at the Realising our Broadband Future conference in Sydney last week, Cisco's Australian CTO Kevin Bloch said the NBN Company’s "small footprint" strategy of not going above "layer 2" Ethernet in the communications stack would favour incumbent telco’s and entrench the market's dominant service providers.

Bloch argued the NBN Co plans would perpetuate existing monopolistic characteristics in the market and that Government risked blowing the opportunity being presented by the broadband network. The NBN Co should provide level 3 services to reduce the cost of entry to smaller players, he argued.

Williamson said Cisco's global view was that it was supportive of the NBN roll-out plans.

"Comments last week from our CTO where made in good faith and the national interest but clearly did not take into account all the complexities of the process nor the actual industry consultancy in play," Williamson said. "Cisco globally is supportive of the process and is engaged."

Government advisers were bemused by the Bloch comments as the broadband plans – including the small footprint Level 2 strategy was based largely on input from the lon g consultation process through the Communications Alliance – of which Cisco is an influential member.

In a statement to iTWire, Williamson clearly sought to mend its relationship with both the Government and the NBN Company.

"Cisco supports the federal government’s NBN vision and strategy as well as the process it has created in order to realise this critical initiative," he said.

"Cisco will continue to work collaboratively with NBN Co, the federal government and the industry to deliver a network that will maximizes the benefits of broadband to consumers, businesses and key industry sectors such as health and education."

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