SYDNEY--Australia’s controversial national broadband project has created a new senior comms role to better explain the plan’s benefits to the country’s public.

NBN Co has named Cathy Jamieson to lead public communications and social media. Jamieson departs her previous position as head of corporate affairs at Microsoft Australia, where she spent six years.

The 13-year tech PR veteran will oversee a public information and education campaign to ready the country’s consumers for the transition from Australia’s current copper network, to a more modern fibre-optic platform.

Jamieson will report to Andrew Scholl, NBN Co’s GM of communications.

The hire comes as NBN continues to face political and media opposition to the $35.9 bn plan, over such issues as pricing and access.

Jamieson, who described NBN Co as a “critical nation-building project”, told the Holmes Report that high-speed broadband will “deliver solid benefits for people, industry, health, education and national productivity.”

“I feel privileged to be part of this transformation and look forward to communicating the benefits of the NBN clearly so all Australians can understand the changes underway.” The public information campaign, she added, will be “carried out in conjunction with the industry and in consultation with the Commonwealth.”

Jamieson also described the role as a return to her roots, after helping bring the Internet World and ISP World conferences to Australia in the mid-Nineties. “Even 15 years ago, when the Internet was young, I was already involved in educating consumers, the public sector and business about the benefits of a connected world,” she said.

Last year, the Australian government department that oversees NBN hired Weber Shandwick as its retained PR agency.