Conroy responds to telco tycoon's NBN criticism

Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man who runs 90 percent of Mexico’s landline services, has slammed the National Broadband Network (NBN), saying it is too expensive.

''It's too much money. It's not necessary to invest so much money because technology is changing all the time,'' Mr Slim said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney.

While Mr Slim admitted fibre broadband is important, he argued that it should be implemented alongside a good wireless network.

''Fibre is not enough, you need to have a good network of wireless, a good WiFi network,'' he said. ''You need to have a multi-platform of everything: mobile, landline, fibre, cable and copper.''

Slim made the comments amid the government’s disclosure that they may reconsider their plans to privatise the NBN.

Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has vowed to forward to Mr Slim the government’s NBN implementation study, in a bid to persuade the telco mogul.

A spokesman for Mr Conroy said: "Mr Slims' comments about the NBN are no surprise given he has become the world's richest man by owning a vertically-integrated monopoly."

Senator Conroy stated there is still room to significantly reduce the estimated $43 billion price tag for the NBN.

"The Implementation Study confirms that the NBN Co can develop a strong and viable business case, generating stable and positive cash flows, and that the Government will get a moderate return on its investment sufficient to cover its cost of funds," a spokeswoman for Mr Conroy said.

On Lateline yesterday evening, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull continued to attack the NBN, arguing that Australia should be expanding its existing network and employing wireless support for regional areas.

Mr Conroy responded by saying: "You cannot high-definition video conference, you can't do remote diagnosis, you can't send big files ... [existing networks] cannot deliver the sort of broadband capacity that we're going to need to move into the new services that are yet to be invented and the existing services that are available today, and Malcolm Turnbull knows better."

The government will be negotiating with the Greens over the coming weeks on whether the NBN should be privatised or left in public hands.