ACCC's Samuels endorses Telstra break-up

ACCC's Samuels endorses Telstra break-up

Summary: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel today endorsed Telstra's structural separation.


Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel yesterday endorsed Telstra's structural separation, which has drawn strong criticism from the Liberals.

Speaking at the ATUG 2009 Regional Conference in Canberra yesterday, Samuel gave the thumbs up to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's plans to separate Telstra's wholesale and retail networks.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel
(Credit: ACCC)

"The vertical integration of Telstra has been one of the most substantial regulatory issues facing the Australian telecommunications industry. It has significantly constrained competition," he said.

"As the government moves to implement its announcement, now is the time to get the ground rules right on structure, to support robust competition in the sector in the coming decades."

"Now is the time to get the ground rules right on structure, to support robust competition in the sector in the coming decades," said Samuels.

The comments came as telecommunications industry submits proposals for telco industry regulatory reform on 3 June.

"We have a unique opportunity to redefine the telecommunications industry, but hard work will be required to get the settings right," said Samuel.

Samuel's comments, however, have drawn strong criticism from Shadow Minister for Communications Nick Minchin who said that he had "overstepped the mark".

"With great respect to Mr Samuel, I think he's overstepping the mark quite frankly. He is the regulator, not a policy maker and he has the job of regulating the industry. If he wants to change his focus, then perhaps he should consider standing for parliament," said Minchin.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government, Government AU, Telcos, Optus, Telstra

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • typical samuel

    Why does anyone even quote this guy anymore? he just spouts the same stuff over and over again.

    He has an obvious and massive anti-telstra bias.
  • Anti Telstra Bias from ACCC

    Minchin is right he has overstepped the mark!!

    If this is what the position is then THODEY should walk away from the table NOW!!


    IS he on in on the Krudds/Conjobs plans to "break up" a great aussie company for these commie loving socialists for the sake of Singtel/OPTUS and other foreign owned interests!!.

    Thats it scew the TAXPAYER some more KRUDD and give some more free kicks to SINGTEL/OPTUS!!
  • Telstra need to be updated

    Telstra, a pitifully badly run company, need to be split into two - infrastructure separate from retail products.

    They've held back communications technology about two decades - what we have now is overexpensive and junk.
  • Re: Anti Telstra Bias...

    If this will give us competition on an open and equal playing field, along with 100Mbps to 90% of the Australian population, and make Australia number one in the world in "intelligent infrastructure", then this is a price that we Australians are willing to pay.,25197,25504325-5013871,00.html
  • Third world we're here (almost).

    Only problem for the standover, dominating, selfserving and Australia destroying ACCC is the strong possibility that Mr Rudd's could be a one term government. Roll on the election.
  • deja vu

    what, roll on the election so that soon after, you can copy/paste everything you are now saying about rudd, but just change the name to turnbull. like you did before from howard to rudd, lmao.

    you telstra shareholder stooges really are something
  • Telstra

    The network the Australian public paid for should never have been sold off! Telstra should have been functionally separated from the start and just the retail arm sold off.

    If that had happened, access and maintenance costs could have been charged by the government and we wouldn't need to now be funding an NBN, as the government would already own one. Because Telstra, your "commie loving socialists" and whom ever else, would have funded new infrastructure in the city and in the bush and us tax payers would not be in this situation being screwed for more money.
  • More like pro Telstra comments

    I can't wait to see Telstra structural separation, Telstra has always been anti competative and un Australian...To much right wing s**t in these comments,your all nuts.
  • Time to fess up ACCC.

    If Steve N would be so kind as to reveal his true identy and his anti Telstra motives, we would probably find that he has reasons to want Telstra weakened which are probably linked to Telstra opponents.

    Why cannot the Rudd Government, or indeed any other Telstra opponent who wishes to compete with Telstra, invest the required money and compete. Why do they demand the destruction of Telstra before they invest?

    Can anyone explain how the ACCC, who is supposed to be the champion of competition, can call for regulation that bans competition and in fact will create a monopoly in the industry.
  • cut the cr*p and gain a little respetc

    before steve n fesses up why don't you tell us all about your pro telstra, true identity (those shares) sydney.

    if you'd have made the above comment without all the typical sydney crap, true identity, anti telstra motives linked to Telstra opponents and just started from paragraph two, you'd have and will, gain more respect.
  • hoorah!

    This is great news. We might actually get some proper competition in Australia and bb speeds that are faster than those in Africa for a change. Telstra has had a free ride for too long and thanks to the truly shocking behaviour of its appalling American management, it is getting exactly what it deserves. I feel sorry for David Thodey inheriting the mess that Sol and his cronies left behind, as he's a good man, who knows how to treat people decently and has a high level of integrity (something sorely lacking at Telstra over the last four years). And no Sidney, I am not a communist Chinese spy or an employee of Singtel.... I just like good telco services sold to me at a fair price
  • hoorah x 2

    i agree but only if optus is separated too!

    lets not get rid of one gorilla just to create another.
  • methinks

    Nick Minchin might have Telstra shares. Because Coonan would probably have done the same if Howard was re-elected (now there is a funny thought)- and broken up Telstra (giving copper line access to OPEL).
    Nick Minchins position clearly departs from previous coalition policy to the extent that we all have to ask - does Nick Minchin, his wife, dog or trust fund own Telstra shares?
  • @methinks

    nick probably has telstra and coonan probably has or had optus shares. ah it all becomes clearer.
  • Go Telstra, Go Australia.

    Anonymous why do you show your lack of knowledge of the situation.

    EVERY Australian, man, woman and child has a financial interest in the well being of Telstra. How?. Simple.

    The 1,500,000 Aussie Telstra shareholders. The 35,000 Aussie Telstra employees. Every Aussie with a Superannuation Fund. Every Australian through their ownership of the 16% of Telstra shares held for them in the Future Fund.

    So you see Anonymous even you have a vital interest in the future of Telstra.
  • Sydney says Telstra has a monopoly!

    Sydney, you're effectively saying Telstra has a monopoly with that argument. Structural separation would not involve the infrastructure of any competitor, only Telstra's. If that creates a monopoly, the only logical conclusion would be that Telstra currently has that monopoly!

    When Telstra was privatised, it was done so with regulated access requirements for competitors, allowing them to compete without the need for investing in their own infrastructure. When Telstra actively works against these conditions (delaying access to exchanges, proposing unrealistic charging schemes, etc) why shouldnt we call for greater measures to ensure more competitors can break into the market, and existing competitors are able to thrive?
  • Monopoly Myth!!

    refer to the real reason. I am sure you agree Sydney.
  • Optus

    I didn't realise Optus had it's own pstn??
  • Future fund?

    There's no longer 1,500,000 Australian shareholders as your Mums and Dads are cutting their losses and selling them off.
    My super fund (thankfully!) dumped them early last year as they have not performed now for years. I'm sure most other funds have done the same or they would not be doing their due dilligence for their customers and shareholders.

    The Future fund is only for Commonwealth public servant's superannuation, started as the Howard Govt had not made adequate provisions for some time. (made the surplus look bigger!)
    So really, Telstra doesn't really spread that far at all, maybe 20% of Australains?
  • Settle Uncle Sydney

    Come on Uncle Sydney, come down from your Telstra sponsored soap box, now .

    No one said we don't have an "indirect" interest. You show your lack of knowledge and an inability to understand. As well as an obvious, unhealthy and shameful financial bias towards Telstra! But everyone already knows that, so it really goes without saying.

    Sydney, unlike you, most of us do not have a "direct" share holding interest which forces us to whinge, whine, sob at their pitiful performance and carry on like a spoilt child, because we just aren't willing to admit how stupid we were to gamble our finances on Telstra.

    But although we do have an indirect interest in Telstra, we probably also have an indirect interest, via super, in BHP, Commonwealth Bank, Wesfarmers and many others. Others; possibly including SINGTEL OPTUS and iiNet too! If so, that would pretty well negate your argument, eh Sydney.

    So you keep pushing Telstra, only because your finances depend on you to do so every day and I'll keep my open mind, thank you.