Do we need the legislative blackmail?

Summary:Virtually everyone in the telecommunications industry has their say in the Senate Standing Committee's public hearing into the pending legislation to split up Telstra, in this week's Twisted Wire podcast.

The Senate Standing Committee Inquiry into the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment has already come out and said that it thinks the proposed changes to the structure of the industry are a good thing.

Despite Senator Nick Minchin's claim that it's all legislative blackmail, the report concluded that "while further examination of issues raised above is warranted, the committee believes that the passage of the Bill should not be delayed".

So hang on, why the rush? As you'll hear in today's Twisted Wire, which eavesdrops on the committee's public hearing in Melbourne last month, Telstra says it is close to having an IT system capable of providing an equivalent service to its wholesale customers as it does to its own retail division.

There's also the question as to why, if we separate Telstra, do we need public investment into the NBN? Wouldn't a structurally (or functionally) separated Telstra invest more in infrastructure and manage the build themselves? I ask if it isn't all a bit "arse about"?

You'll hear from the witnesses at the public inquiry held in Melbourne on 13 October:

  • Geoff Booth, group managing director, NBN Engagement, Telstra
  • Tony Warren, executive director, Regulatory Affairs, Telstra
  • Andrew Sheridan, general manager, Interconnect and Economic Regulation, Optus
  • David Havyatt, manager, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Unwired
  • Matt Healy, national executive, Regulatory & Government, Macquarie Telecom
  • John Horan, general manager, Legal and Regulatory, Primus Telecom
  • Dale Clapperton, legal counsel, Pipe Networks

Be sure to let us have your thoughts too, in the Talkback section at the end of this post.

You can also read the transcript of the full day's hearing (PDF) or read the Senate inquiry report on the Bill.

See transcript here.

Topics: NBN, Government : AU, Mobility, Networking, Telcos


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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