Telstra calls the G9's bluff

commentary The time has come for Optus's group of nine (G9) consortium to prove it wasn't bluffing when it said last month it would build its own national fibre broadband network if Telstra's plans fell through. The G9 will be forced to show its hand following Telstra's Monday announcement that talks over its own fibre plans with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been discontinued.

commentary The time has come for Optus's group of nine (G9) consortium to prove it wasn't bluffing when it said last month it would build its own national fibre broadband network if Telstra's plans fell through.

Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
The G9 will be forced to show its hand following Telstra's Monday announcement that talks over its own fibre plans with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been discontinued.

Following Telstra's move, several high-profile parties immediately turned their attention to the rival G9 proposal.

"Telstra is not the only game in town," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel told Australian Associated Press.

"As surely as night follows day, there will be a high-speed broadband network built," he added. "I don't think we need to be held hostage by Telstra to achieve that."

Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan agreed. "This is an opportunity for us all now to take stock and to let other competitors ... let them have a look at what they can do," she said.

Several members of the G9 group reacted to Telstra's move by alleging the heavyweight had never been serious about building the network in the first place.

"Today's announcement confirms suspicions Telstra's fibre to the node plans were simply a regulatory leverage technique," Optus director of corporate and regulatory affairs Paul Fletcher said in an e-mailed statement.

His iiNet counterpart Steve Dalby described Telstra's fibre plans as "a Bunyip, a creature of the dark," and "a ploy".

Well the ball is truly now in the G9's court -- let's see what will eventuate from the group's own discussions with the ACCC. The consortium will need to prove its own plans weren't just a regulatory leverage technique in turn.

Is the G9 serious about building its own fibre broadband network or are the telcos involved just playing games? Drop me a line at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au.

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