Primus chief fights against forced fibre

Primus chief fights against forced fibre

Summary: The new CEO of Primus Australia, Tom Mazerski, advocates consumer choice. That means the option for consumers to stay with copper and less market control from Telstra.


The new CEO of Primus Australia, Tom Mazerski, advocates consumer choice. That means the option for consumers to stay with copper and less market control from Telstra.

Mazerski says the National Broadband Network (NBN) was one of the reasons he moved to Australia. He likes the policy that removes the gap between the haves and have-nots, but he is concerned that it won't do enough to level the playing field in this market. Australia will retain too much control and so prices will continue to be distorted.

Instead, he suggests second tier carriers are given favourable rates for NBN access to "level the playing field". It's a suggestion that might seem a little self-serving, but we're yet to see any other ideas about how we can remove Telstra's stranglehold on the market.

As for the NBN, Mazerski doesn't believe the cost should be passed on to low-end consumers who want a phone-only connection. He says users should have the choice about whether fibre runs into their home. He calls it forced broadband, and suggests more policy work is needed to stop this from happening.

A recent example of forced broadband was Telstra's move to a fibre-only exchange in South Brisbane. He says in this decision Telstra has essentially de-regulated itself. The company has abandoned copper without any regulatory involvement. "I'm now going to have to go to my customers in that exchange saying we are moving you to fibre and your prices are going to go up."

It's an interesting half-hour discussion — you'll find it refreshing to hear the views of an industry veteran new to the market putting his perspective on issues we have been grappling with in Australia for some time.

What do you think? Leave a message on the Twisted Wire feedback line: (02) 9304 5198.

Running time: 33 minutes, 28 seconds

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


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • Switching from Iprimus asap..
    Ridiculous Argument..
    Paul Grenfell
  • am churning away from iPrimus
  • this guy has absolutely no clue... how in gods name is he an executive??
  • God damn, what is this idiot talking about. Who made him boss? sacrifice good of the nation for his companies profits...? IInet was once a second tier ISP, how did they climb the ranks? They offered better services for lower prices, something Primus has failed to deliver for well over a decade.

    You are a failed 'realist' go back to your corporate world where you can pretend to know what you're talking about.
  • DISCLAIMER: I have not listened to the podcast...

    but as pablosan - who ironically, is accused of being me over at delimiter, by a defective (oops, detective...LOL) says, "no clue indeed", just read the first sentence...

    "Tom Mazerski, advocates consumer choice. That means the option for consumers to stay with copper and less market control from Telstra"

    that's a contradiction, fit to challenge the defective... think about it?

    rolls eyes
    • LOL @ defective detective.
  • As I have suspected it would not be long before the Labour Government would move on the Retail side of the NBN. In the Brisbane area we have a large scale promotion for Retail customers by a business (SouthernPhoneCo) being promoted by Local Councils and funded by the Gillard Government.

    So much for the promise that the NBN Retail would be left to private companies and the Government (owners of the NBNCo) would not enter the Retail side of the business. Looks like domination by stealth of both Wholesale and Retail of the NBN market.
    • you voted for it..LOL!!!

      but seriously syd, southern phone has been around for almost 10 years, giving regional people (so brisbane seems odd) the opportunities that others (such as???) wouldn't!

      to now suggest this is an nbn conspiracy is fud and complete lunacy, even for you!
  • Syd.. Storm in a teacup.. southernphone isnt even remotely integrated with NBNco.
    Much less a retail your trying to imply.. Pure Fud.
    Paul Grenfell
  • Sydney, if Southern Phone Co is a post-NBN phenomenon, how do you explain this 2007 post on Whirlpool?
  • O.K. I accept your expert advice. Just a shock to see the advertisements in Brisbane today. If the SP's are happy with that sort of competition fine.
  • this is the sort of 'shoot first ask q's later' we expect from bolt, jones, nwat and lala.
  • From the comments does not sound like it is worth a listen. Also sounds like Tom has drunk very deeply of the NBN Cool Aid, and now finds out it does not agree with him realising the full implicaitons of what is actually going down. What happened to the good old Ozzie homily - "keep the **** honest'. With infrastructure competition there is at least a chance of that.
  • Interesting interview about the NBN from someone new to Australia.

    But why would Tom say a choice should be given for a POTS to be over fibre or copper. The bottom line surely is there is no difference to the end user.
    Who maintains the copper network if only a few want just a standard phone (pots), like they have had since the 1940's.
    I think Tom is wrong to suggest that a standard phone (pots) would be different over a fibre network than a copper network.
    Your really old Telstra phone works on the new NBN, even when the power is turned off.
  • “we're yet to see any other ideas about how we can remove Telstra's stranglehold on the market” How about good service and competitive prices? “It can’t be that hard” ...with apologies to Julia Gillard.

    There seems to be an assumption in many episodes and by Tom Mazerski that the elderly (aka pensioners), or many of them, won’t be interested in accessing the internet via the NBN and will be content with voice telephone only. Given it is up to a decade away, today’s pensioners will be in the home of peace playing Bingo or otherwise have moved on. A new cohort of rather more tech savvy pensioners will be the ones with time on their hands.

    Unlike you, I predict they will be amongst the heaviest internet by NBN users. In fact, as one of pension age already, I too a glad not to be an iPrimus customer while its excuse in matters competitive is that it does not have the playing field tilted sufficiently in its favour. How can you let Tom talk all that nonsense about keeping copper without questioning him robustly on the practical ramifications of doing so.