Telstra lashes critical Senate committee report

Telstra has lashed back at the majority findings of a Senate committee report on the state of its network, saying the document is "fundamentally flawed, inaccurate and out of date."Telstra's group managing director of regulatory corporate and human relations, Bill Scales, said the report ignored the Australian Communications Authority's (ACA) commendation on the strong performance of Telstra's network.

Telstra has lashed back at the majority findings of a Senate committee report on the state of its network, saying the document is "fundamentally flawed, inaccurate and out of date."

Telstra's group managing director of regulatory corporate and human relations, Bill Scales, said the report ignored the Australian Communications Authority's (ACA) commendation on the strong performance of Telstra's network.

"The report has failed to adequately take into account Telstra's track record of on-going service improvements, and had limited relevance given the significant developments in the telecommunications industry that had taken place since the inquiry ceased taking evidence just on a year ago."

Scales said that they were reluctant to comment on the "politically motivated report" but decided to defend its staff "against inaccurate and out of date comments in the majority report."

The senate committee split along party lines, producing two reports with different opinions on Telstra's network. The majority report was done by the Democrat and ALP Senators, while coalition Senators produced a dissenting report.

"The majority report appears to ignore the substantial network improvements undertaken by Telstra following the independent Besley and Estens Inquiries. It also fails to properly acknowledge independent regulator reporting on Telstra's improved service performance and network reliability," he said.

Scales pointed out that in the 12 months since the inquiry concluded, Telstra had continued strategic investment in the Customer Access Network (CAN), including an announcement last month of a further AU$320 million boost to spending to further reduce fault levels and improve service.

He defended that they have also implemented a detailed strategy to improve telephone services for customers connected to certain pair gain systems (PGS), with older PGS being progressively removed and replaced, reducing congestion for customers.

"We have made considerable progress in improving the telecommunications services provided to all Australians -- especially those living in rural, regional and remote areas," Scales said.

"It is therefore regrettable that the majority committee report saw fit to give greater weight to unsubstantiated and, in many cases, totally incorrect claims from some witnesses, rather than the solid evidence from Telstra and the ACA on the demonstrable improvements in our service levels and performance."

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