Telco Senate debate listed for Wednesday

Telco Senate debate listed for Wednesday

Summary: As parliament resumes for three days next week for the Federal Budget, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will again attempt to reintroduce a Bill that could starve Telstra of mobile spectrum required for next-generation mobile technology if it doesn't split into two.

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As parliament resumes for three days next week for the Federal Budget, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will again attempt to reintroduce a Bill that could starve Telstra of mobile spectrum required for next-generation mobile technology if it doesn't split into two.

Stephen Conroy

Stephen Conroy
(Credit: NBN Tasmania)

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 has offered Telstra a choice to voluntarily opt for structural separation or face an imposed functional separation coupled with tough sanctions, including a possible ban on acquiring spectrum for 4G wireless services.

The draft legislation program for the Senate has placed the Bill on Wednesday next week — the second of the three-day sittings — and last on the list to be considered for that day.

At the release of the National Broadband Network (NBN) implementation study, Senator Conroy said there was a misconception that the Bill before parliament forced structural separation. "That's not the case," Conroy said.

"This Bill deals with the existing structure of the market today," Conroy said. "This Bill talks about a whole range of new powers for the ACCC to try and deal with some of the problems this sector has had endemically."

Conroy has also given Telstra until the end of June to negotiate on whether it will handover any of its network to the Federal Government.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Telcos, Telstra

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