Telstra silent on FTTN shareholder cash hit

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has remained tight-lipped on how a fibre-to-the-node build could impact the cash the telco pays to its shareholders.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has remained tight-lipped on how a fibre-to-the-node build could impact the cash the telco pays to its shareholders.

While the Rudd government has set aside some AU$8 billion to finance the rollout of a high-speed broadband network, Telstra has promised that, should it win the tender to deploy fibre across Australia, it "won't cost the taxpayer a cent", with the telco investing AU$4.1 billion of its own money in the network.

Nevertheless, Trujillo said that the cost of any future fibre rollout has not been factored into Telstra's current financial forecasting.

"The FTTN investment ... I don't know if it will happen or not -- we're not building it into our financial planning at this stage. We're working with government, trying to go through the processes and all that sort of thing," he said at the company's half-yearly results day announcement in Sydney yesterday.

"In terms of the financing and how we think about business, obviously we would be looking at some point, if we were involved and chose to be involved, and were selected, you know, we would have to finance to some extent whatever additional [capital expenditure] would be involved."

However, Trujillo declined to say how the AU$4.1 billion it intends to spend on the rollout would affect the company's dividend to shareholders.

"Would it affect our dividend? That's a decision for board. But I don't think that's a necessary issue for people to be concerned about," he concluded.

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