Conroy calls Telstra's NBN bluff

Conroy calls Telstra's NBN bluff

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today said he would not respond to Telstra's call for clarity on future telecommunications regulation to give the big telco surety before national broadband network bids are due on 26 November.

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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today said he would not respond to Telstra's call for clarity on future telecommunications regulation to give the big telco surety before national broadband network bids are due on 26 November.

"Gotta love the competitive process, dont'cha. Gotta love competition," Conroy said in answer to the question relating to the issue at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch. "We've not ruled anything in or out and that seems to have caused a little bit of public debate," he continued.

"You can't be fairer than saying, tell us what you think you need to get the investment return and access to $4.7 billion," he said.

"Some people don't seem to be enjoying the competitive process. Maybe that's just this sector. I don't know. Most other people are usually prepared to get $4.7 billion, understanding that there's the chance they mightn't win before they start."

When asked specifically about Telstra's issues after the event, Conroy told press that the company would have to decide itself if it wanted to bid, although he did highlight the company's tendency to cry wolf.

"I'm just noting the fact that Telstra in the past has said they wouldn't bid for things when they bid for things, but they have to treat each case on a case by case basis," he said.

On the subject of Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie's recent letter asking for regulatory clarity to which CEO Sol Trujillo said the company had received no answer, Conroy said he believed his department had replied, although he could not be sure.

"I did read that we hadn't responded. My recollection is that we have definitely written back in response to some of Telstra's queries," he said.

He admitted in the questions and answers session that he didn't know how many bidders would actually submit on the day, which would affect the amount of time the expert panel would have to deliberate on each bid.

Later he ticked off those on his fingers who might put in their papers, including Terria and Axia in his count. "The Acacia group have not said a lot but you'd have to ask them," he concluded.

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

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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3 comments
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  • Slient houseman

    Who is the Acacia group?
    anonymous
  • a bit of humour for a change

    they were a pop group in the 70's, from sweden!

    oh wait, sorry........strike that, that was abba
    anonymous
  • ned, you are obviously mistaken

    Ned! outrageous, your obviously incorrect about our beloved acacia

    Acacia is actually the name of the rival gang to king Arthurs round table, there name had been lost in the vicious turf wars of 1502 when one of them made a move on lancelots 'ho'
    anonymous