AAPT left out of NBN discussions

AAPT left out of NBN discussions

Summary: AAPT has not yet had any discussions with the Federal Government about a possible role in the $43 billion National Broadband Network, its CEO Paul Broad said this week.

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AAPT has not yet had any discussions with the Federal Government about a possible role in the $43 billion National Broadband Network, its CEO Paul Broad said this week.

Paul Broad

Paul Broad (Credit: AAPT)

"We haven't had discussions with them yet," Broad told ZDNet.com.au, "we're hoping to have discussions with them soon."

AAPT is Australia's third largest carrier and owns a substantial amount of fibre around the nation. The number one and two carriers, Telstra and Optus, have already been talking to the government about their involvement.

Telstra was given a second lease of life with the broadband announcement as the government expressly said that it was allowed to become involved in the project. It acted quickly, with chairman Donald McGauchie and CFO John Stanhope flying to Canberra to meet with the government.

The telco has created a special committee including the pair to negotiate with the Federal Government. The group hasn't included outgoing Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo, on the grounds that negotiations would likely continue after he has gone.

Optus was lavish in its praise of the government's plan when it was announced.

AAPT, on the other hand didn't have only positive things to say about the new idea. Paul Broad said on Lateline Business that he didn't believe the network could make a return by offering prices similar to those currently available. He believed prices would need to be around $200 a month for end users. He called for the government not to duplicate existing infrastructure in metro areas, instead focusing on the regional blackspots.

AAPT wouldn't want a stake, he said, although it would happily participate and also put customers on it. "I would say that we wouldn't be investing any more dollars in it just as we withdrew from the NBN proposal in the first place," he said.

According to Broad, the plan leaned on the side of extravagance. "I'm in the view that I've never found the economics to work to fibre-to-the-home. Just the economics never stack up. And I spent too much of my life trying to get governments to stop making irrational decisions about taxpayers' money," he told Lateline Business.

Telstra would not comment on what its discussions with the government had entailed. Optus' Krishnapillai said that the government had spoken to the carrier on the NBN as well as other issues. He said the company was working out its next steps and that some idea of how to proceed could be hammered out in the next few weeks.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Government AU, AAPT, NBN

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

4 comments
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  • The government has to decide what's best for Australia not short term business g

    Who cares if Optus thinks the NBN is the best thing since sliced bread, and who cares if AAPT won't touch it with a barge pole because FTTH in Broad's view is "irrational".

    It's not the point; the Government isn't here to curtail to the needs of big business when the private sector wants something directly out of line with what is best for Australia.
    A Fiber to the Home National Broadband Network is by far the best thing for Australia, now and for the future.

    Optus and AAPT obviously have vastly differing opinions because of only one thing, they only exist because they are motivated by profits for their shareholders, and that's obviously, simply and unarguably the case.

    So what if the NBN doesn't make money for AAPT? It doesn't have to! It doesn't have to make money for anyone at all in the traditional short sighted dollar sign way of seeing things. The NBN is a national civil infrastructure which will put us years ahead as a nation and keep us there in the future with almost no further upgrades to the network needed- unlike anything the private sector has come up with.

    Big business; realise you must come inline with what is best for the nation; and as the tide of national need changes, you must change with it or be left behind with an unfit business model, trying to twist the Goverment's arm to spare you from a natural extinction - and even worse trying to drag the Nation with you by forcing us to use your uneconomical services out of love, something which if you had for the nation you wouldn't be in this mess.
    anonymous
  • What absolute drivel !!

    How do you expect the Govt. to attract private investment to the NBN company if it is expected to make no money?

    Its also pretty irresponsible to expect the tax payer to foot the bill twice for this project. First to build it and then to pay way over the odds for what will then be an outdated service. (8 years time)

    I think it is you my friend that needs to understand what is best for the nation and get back to your fruit loops !!
    anonymous
  • yes drivel from you

    anonymous you obviously know more than the two big boys, telstra and optus who have shown interest.

    but outdated service how so? no technology is totally safe i know, but this is as safe as any. if we use your, it will be outdated approach, we will never have a network and none of us would ever have even bought a pc.

    i think it is you my friend that needs to understand what is best for the nation or just get off the weed!!
    anonymous
  • Great answer and well thought out !!!

    NOT !!

    The point I was making was in reference to
    "So what if the NBN doesn't make money for AAPT? It doesn't have to! It doesn't have to make money for anyone at all in the traditional short sighted dollar sign way of seeing things"

    Of course telstra and optus have expressed an interest. It would be fairly stupid of them to not want to take the opportunity to understand potential competition. Neither has put their hands in their pockets yet have they....if in times it proves out that they can make money from it, control competition or add share holder value I am sure they will invest...

    To your second point. I didnt safe they technology wasnt safe, I said it would be outdated by the time it was rolled out. Two very different things. The fibre is only as good as the kit that is put on the end of it.

    Read my post properly before jumping on your high horse.....plum
    anonymous