Fight anti-competitive NBN laws: AAPT

Fight anti-competitive NBN laws: AAPT

Summary: AAPT chief executive Paul Broad today called for fellow telcos to stand up and "make noises" to protect competition in the new world order of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

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AAPT chief executive Paul Broad today called for fellow telcos to stand up and "make noises" to protect competition in the new world order of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Paul Broad

AAPT CEO Paul Broad (Credit: Marina Freri/Delimiter)

Broad said at the Commsday Summit in Sydney today that the current telecommunications legislation, chunks of which were approved just days ago, was all about preventing competition — recreating a monopoly situation which the industry has fought to dismantle over the last 20 years.

He said that competition at the infrastructure level is fundamental to the telco market. "My concern about today's debate about infrastructure is we spent a lot of time in the last few weeks building up legislation to prevent competition," he said. Then, referring to the uniform national wholesale price to be used by the NBN: "How can we offer a competitive product when we all face the same wholesale price?"

Broad said the industry should look back at past experiences to avoid future mistakes. He said that in the mid 1990s, the company he worked for, Energy Australia, tried to use energy infrastructure to drive a retail competitive outcome.

Yet the final result didn't deliver, according to Broad. "We thought at that time we could actually build a multi-utility concept using energy infrastructure … that part failed," he said. According to Broad, in the mid 1990s nobody predicted that competition could be at an infrastructure level.

"Sometime we forget we have made a few mistakes in the past which might help think about the future," he said.

For these reasons Broad called on the industry players to stand against the current NBN legislation.

"We industry should certainly have an argument about the fact we have all taken a pretty big journey in the last 20 years," he said. "We all have investors and invested capital in our business."

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

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7 comments
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  • At least Broad calls it as it is.

    True, the best way for competition is to have it. People think picking up the phone or getting on the Internet is a 'mystery' and that it 'magically' appeared one day.

    It is a $33 billion dollar a year "infrastructure" industry. And that means high capex of investment to make a return. Money (and a lot of it) is spent on physical work and assets before the 'magic' appears. With the industry going back 20 years now to a new Telstra (the NBN), less competitive infrastructure for competition means higher prices for all of us.
    Theguy-bbb4a
    • @Theguy, when you put it that way - $33B p.a... makes $27B for the NBN seem like peanuts...eh? So WTF are you, the other FUDsters and the Libs whining about?

      @gnome, it has been explained to him before. So like all FUDsters, the facts are of no importance to him!
      RS-ef540
  • @Theguy, perhaps before you comment, you could get some info about the difference between the previous vertically-integrated Telstra monopoly, and the coming NBN providing a wholesale national broadband network where all RSPs will be able to compete on an even basis (some recent special interest pleading notwithstanding).
    gnome-8be8a
  • It is clear that if a monopoly is needed to operate a broadband network, experence and proven track recorded is needed. The only organisation with that experence in Australia is Telstra. NBN Co should be sold into Telstra and allowed to build out the network with a mixture of HFC, copper, wireless & fibre.
    Knowledge Expert
    • A monopoly is the last thing something like the NBN needs. Without any competition, the company in charge can do what they want (very little) and charge what they want (extortionate amounts), and if we want any Internet access at all, then we have to do what they want (anything up to and including jumping through hoops for their amusement).

      Yes, at this point prices are going to start low for customers ("catch 'em by putting some decent bait in the nets"). But if there is no (or little) competition, how long will that policy last?
      dmh_paul
  • Is that you Malcolm?
    RS-ef540
  • RS,

    A quick lesson about the industry.

    $33 billion revenue per annum, does not equate to profit. About 1/3 of that translates to it.

    We all know that the cost of FTTH to do in Australia will be more likely to the $80-$100 billion mark. High risk investment of a project this size should make a return of minimum 14%. IT IS 6%!!!!!!

    Very easy to throw around money when it isn't your, or the taxpayers. You would behave and say differently if it was (I can guarantee that).
    Theguy-bbb4a