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ACS Week In Review: 18 October 2013

Friday, 18 Oct 2013

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NBN Rollout was too ambitious: Conroy

Former communications minister Stephen Conroy has conceded construction targets for the national broadband network were "overly ambitious" and overestimated the capacity of the construction industry.

In his first public speech since resigning as the communications minister when Kevin Rudd was reinstated as leader of the Labor Party, Senator Conroy also said the Liberal Party's failure to do a cost-benefit analysis of its national broadband network after calling on Labor to do so was "bullshit" and "hypocrisy".

But he admitted Labor had not realised the scale of the challenge when planning the NBN rollout.

Conroy bypassed for shadow Comms portfolio

Labor MP Jason Clare has been named the party’s new Shadow Minister for Communications, in a shake up of the shadow cabinet announced today.

Former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been given the shadow portfolio for Defence. He will also hold the role of deputy leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Conroy told Lateline earlier this week he would be happy to take any portfolio given to him, but there was "no question" he had an "ongoing interest" in the communications sector.

Clare will be supported by Michelle Rowland as Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications. Rowland will also serve as the shadow minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.

Clare, a 41 year old career politician, has had little involvement with the communications portfolio thus far. Clare joined the Labor Party after graduating high school. He has law and arts degree from UNSW.

A common mobile phone charging standard?

There has been talk for years of standardisation of mobile phone chargers. Are we any closer?

The European Parliament is considering an amendment to its Radio Equipment Directive that will require radio equipment – and in particular, mobile phones – sold in Europe to be compatible with a universal charger.

The decision builds on the European Commission’s 2009 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with fourteen major device manufacturers which sealed a commitment to common standards for smartphones.

Now the ITU has urged the European Parliament to include specific reference to ITU’s global Universal Charging Solution (UCS), embodied in ITU recommendation ITU-T L.1000. This standard is approved by 193 Member States and around 700 private-sector companies, and has already been widely adopted by many device manufacturers and supported by service providers around the world. But not Apple, which has even split its own user base with the Lightning connector.

Grantly Mailes to head CenITex board

Chief technology advocate Grantly Mailes has stepped into the role of chairman and sole director of the board of CenITex, the Victorian Government’s shared services agency.

He replaces outgoing chair and former head of the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance Grant Hehir, who will move to Sydney to become the NSW Government’s new Auditor-General.

CenITex was declared a “reorganising body” on 26 April 2012 and as a result the board was dismissed and slimmed down to a single director, a number it has retained since.

The appointment means that Mailes will oversee the outsourcing of CenITex’s assets and services, which are currently delivered by an in-house team.

The transformation follows years of well documented dysfunction and underperformance within the CenITex organisation. Expressions of Interest were called from the private sector in mid September and closed last week.