Telstra has published a response to the G9 consortium's fibre-to-the-node proposal, calling it an expensive and dangerous proposal that "imposes a tortured, dysfunctional ownership and management structure".
Both Telstra and the Optus-led G9 group are competing to build a high speed broadband network for Australia's urban areas, as part of the government's plan to overhaul Australia's connectivity. Guidelines on the scheme were published earlier this month.
While no particular network technology has been mandated by the Coalition, both parties are likely to propose fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) offerings, with the winning tender to be chosen by an expert taskforce.
In its submission to the taskforce, Telstra said the G9 consortium's plan will lead to higher prices and lower speeds, suggesting G9's choice of ADSL2+ technology will only deliver 1.5Mbps. "ADSL2+ is barely today's technology, let alone tomorrow's ... G9's promise of a best efforts [sic] 1.5Mbps minimum speed service is so modest that it would not even require an FTTN architecture," the submission said.
Optus could not immediately be reached for comment.
Telstra said its plan will favour a competing broadband technology, VDSL. Discussions between the telco and the government over the FTTN scheme have been fractious to date, with Telstra repeatedly threatening to pull out of the tender process and, earlier this month, refusing to commit to submitting its own bid to build a network.
Both Telstra and operators within the G9 consortium have accused each other's FTTN plans of menacing the competitive landscape.
"G9's proposal goes far beyond what any competition policy rationale could ever justify and what the access regime legally authorises ... Inherent in this concept is the protection of an access provider's own use requirements, a principle widely recognised in competition law, and by the Australian Constitution," Telstra's submission said.
Speaking last week at the Australian Financial Review Broadband Australia conference, Warren Hardy, MD of Optus's consumer division, said: "Telstra says we urgently need a fibre-to-the-node network ... but in return for building the network to half the population, Telstra wants to change the rules and lock out competition and charge whatever it likes."
David Tudehope, CEO of Macquarie Telecom -- another G9 member -- added: "If Telstra were to be successful, it would be back to the future -- it would mean turning back the clock 15 years and it would be a very sad day for Australia."