NBN chief rallies supporters with speech

National Broadband Network Co chief executive Mike Quigley has openly criticised the Coalition's alternative broadband plan in a speech to industry.

Mr Quigley used his platform at the Charles Todd Memorial Oration to address the perceived shortcomings of the Coalition's proposed broadband policy, which would see the NBN replaced with existing technologies funded by industry and government.

The Coalition's plan relies on both private investment and an improvement on mobile wireless broadband technology. Mr Quigley attacked both elements in his speech to telecommunications leaders.

"No commercial entity will provide good telecommunications services to everyone across this vast nation of ours without Government intervention of one sort or another," Mr Quigley said.

"No purely commercial company can take the long term view that is required to build the next fixed line platform that Australia now needs."

At the same time, Mr Quigley stressed NBN Co is a telco, "not a Government department".

The NBN Co head also said Australia needs to be "realistic" about wireless capabilities, as spectrum is "scarce" and wireless networks are affected by distance and load.

Mr Quigley also compared the NBN to past nation-building projects, such as the Harbour Bridge, the Snowy Mountains scheme and the Overland Telegraph.

The NBN is a major point of difference between the Liberals’ and Labor’s election plans. The Liberal Party has pledged to scrap the scheme if it wins the Federal election.