Oz Competition Boss Hurls Down Broadband Gauntlet

01 December 2006

SYDNEY: Moved, mayhap, by this week's finger-wagging by Sol Trujillo, ceo of Telstra, Australia's dominant telecoms operator, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel challenged the former "to throw the switch" across the whole of the firm's high speed broadband network - rather than dragging its feet and blaming the ACCC.

Samuel criticized Telstra's reluctance to offer its high speed ADSL2+ broadband services across its entire cutomer base.

Currently, alleges the ACCC chairman, the company has rolled out these services only in areas already serviced by its rivals, while pointing the finger at the ACCC.

According to Samuel, ADSL is available in exchanges covering 91% of the population, all of which can be upgraded to provide ADSL2+.

"Why then," he asked rhetorically, "has Telstra limited its upgrade to just 364 exchanges covering 46% of the population, being only those exchanges where Telstra's competitors are already offering high speed broadband to its customers?"

"Telstra has publicly accused the regulator of attempting to impose 'below cost' and economically unrealistic regulatory constraints on its FTTN [Fibre to the Node] proposals.

"The ACCC categorically rejects these assertions. Telstra should put its FTTN proposal on the table for public examination and release the ACCC from the confidentiality obligations that Telstra has imposed upon it, so that these issues can be placed in the public domain."

Earlier this week, Trujillo's fickle finger pointed at the Australia's Howard administration for failing to offer sufficient tax relief incentives to underwrite the rollout [WARC News: 30-Nov-06].

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff