Telstra gets AU$1 billion 'secret documents' wish

Telstra gets AU$1 billion 'secret documents' wish

Summary: A ruling preventing Telstra from accessing documents relating to the government's decision to award nearly AU$1 billion in funding to OPEL has been overturned.

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A ruling preventing Telstra from accessing documents relating to the government's decision to award nearly AU$1 billion in funding to OPEL has been overturned.

Telstra launched a lawsuit against the former Communications Minister Helen Coonan in August last year, alleging the government had increased the amount of funding available for a bush broadband rollout from around AU$600 million to AU$1 billion and had not made the increase known to all tenderers.

The telco's attempts to have documents relating to the decision made public were turned down by the Federal Court in October, with Telstra ordered to pay the Minister's costs.

Telstra has now been granted leave to appeal against the original decision and the court has ordered that the government provide access to the documents Telstra has been seeking.

Telstra's group counsel Will Irving said in a statement: "This is a good outcome because it may take us one step closer to knowing what went on behind closed doors, and then being able to assess whether more formal action is warranted."

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government AU, Legal, Networking, Telcos, Telstra, NBN, Wi-Fi

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11 comments
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  • Last laugh.

    The mills of the Gods grind slow but they grind exceeding fine.
    anonymous
  • Slow - just like Telstra pair gain / RIM / CMUX

    Yes - mills grind slow just like the non-existent broadband service that RIM/CMUX/Pair Gain customers - sorry "victims" - of Telstra know today. At least OPEL offered some shorter term relief for those stuck with this Telstra situation about which Telstra appears to have said absolutely NOTHING! For small to medium businesses trying to get up and going, Telstra business offerings, in a pair gain environment, are a laugh. (Yes - put your laptop on NextG! Rather hard for a major file/Internet server!)

    Let's all support the fast resolution of the OPEL situation so that the Telstra victims can get some broadband. After all, try keeping your Windows'XP/Vista patched at 40Kbit/sec! Try keeping a solid anti-virus signature file up to date at those speeds! Telstra expects you to!
    anonymous
  • Huge difference

    There is always someone that wants to pull out the pair gain, rim, it's too slow argument. Opel was based on $958,000,000 of taxpayers money and in return we do not even get 1c in dividends when they turn a profit. As a private enterprise a company is free to submit tenders for response and amend the requirements or eliminate the best bid for whatever reason they want. As a government / taxpayer funded solution the tender requires all parties to be placed on an even footing and have all responses measured on a fixed and uniform process. If this doesn't happen then the public should know why. My single biggest disappointment with the entire Opel / Telstra issue is not that Opel won or Telstra lost but that 19,900,000 of the 20,000,000 Australians simply sat back and allowed it to get to this stage. If the Opel solution goes ahead and in 2 or 5 years when it is turned on and you find you are not covered due to the high rise building up the road casting a signal shadow and their poor planning did not pick this up what will you say then?

    I look forward to hearing the truth ... and one day (before my grand children retire) seeing the network.
    anonymous
  • Justice and a fair go for all.

    This is quite a serious situation, as explained by Happy Valentines Day.

    The new Australian Government has rightfully assisted in the release of the Opel tender documents and for the sake of the Australian taxpayer I hope the details therein will be carefully and closely scrutinised.

    Should any discrepancy or malfunction of intent be found to be contained in them I call on the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy to withhold payment to Opel and if they wish to, announce a new tender.
    anonymous
  • No Difference

    The issue is not that pair gain is too slow, its you can't have broadband or ADSL on pair gain. The only reason Telstra stopped using pair gain is because the Australian people complained. What the blind Telstra supporters won't accept is that Australians have been ripped off, forgotton about, and held back by this greedy company with Australians no longer love. The reason most Australians fell out of love with Telstra and don't care that OPEL won the tender is that know they'll get screwed by Telstra, because they have been in the past time and time again. What Australians are thinking is why not give another company a chance. The up and coming Telcos such as Primus, TPG, Internode and IINet have proved Australias can have services at reasonable prices. These new Telcos give Australians affordable and reasonable products, and Australians love them for that. Telstra continues to bombard Australians with their advertisments and media spin. However most Australians realised after being locked into a Telstra contract that they are being ripped off and that next time they won't make the same mistake.
    anonymous
  • Winge and Whine

    OK so Telstra has screwed us for years. Pair gain, RIM etc.
    So what have all the other carriers been doing??
    I dont see them dipping into their pockets to roll out competing networks - hard wired, fibre of rf based.
    Telstra is not the only company with a carrier licence - there are heaps of them (check the ACMA website) - there is NOTHING preventing them from investing in delivery technmologies that will satisfy many people (and by that I mean that there will be many types of delivery technology to address distance, location, usage requirements - because there is not a single solution - ADSL, BDSL, WiMAX etc that will cobver all of Austria for all Australians.)
    Bash Telstra if you like - but the other carriers deserve a serve as well.
    We have all taken their bait that they can not do any business in Australia because Telstra wont give them access to their infrastructure.
    Bollocks - they could build their own if they wanted - but it is not profitable is it? They want to use the infrastructure that you grandparents and parents paid for with their taxes to make their shareholder money - so why should Telstra not do the same??
    anonymous
  • Opinion

    New pair gain sites was stopped because of technological improvements allowing new delivery methods and not political reasons, the areas that are serviced by pair gain or rim's are mostly areas that had an explosion of telephony needs from the 1960's to the early 1990's. let's not forget when they started using pair gain ISDN did not exist and 9.6kbps speeds were considered cutting edge.

    Sure Primus, TPG, Internode, IINet and many other offer cheaper services, this is because primarily focus on easy to deliver localities that are easier to service and cost much less on average to deliver. A lower cost basis means the ability to offer lower retail prices. If they tried to expand beyond the major metro areas they would have no choice but to increase their retail prices or have a two tiered price structure for metro and non-metro clients.
    anonymous
  • A Fair Go

    We are used to hearing about Australian Companies not getting a fair go overseas. Its a shame they can't get one here in their own country. How many of the Telstra bashers call themselves ozzies. As for the Federal Court Judges that blocked the release of the documents I say they are just as out of touch as Helen Coonan and the Howard Government were.
    anonymous
  • Other Telcos are doing something

    Matt the other Telcos are doing things. Some examples of this are Internode, investing in wireless infrastructure all over South Australia, and installing ADSL dslams in exchanges even where Telstra didn't. The are many other ISPs like Soul(now owned by TPG) that have also installed dslams across country cities like Nowra and dubbo. Also internode was the first to offer ADSL2 to Australians. But Telstra hasn't made it easy, the often don't grant access to exchanges for other telcos effectively reducing their competition. Infact the ACCC is currently investigating this. Some people might say that these smaller Telcos want to piggback on Telstra's intrastructure and not pay for it themselves. Well telstra and an unfair advantage. They own all the exchanges, they own all the phone lines. They have a monopoly. The only reason Telstra allows other companies to installed Dslams is because the government forced them to allow it. Telstra doesn't have a bad deal either, they get a cut of every adsl connection's monthly fee. They also get the phone line rental the people must pay to go through their equipment even if the customer doesn't want to make phone calls. So Telstra are making money even when they don't provide the internet connection network infrastructure since this is provided by the other Telco. The only exception to this is the naked DSL which Telstra fought hard to stop. So is it profitable? I don't know but it seems Telstra gets least $30 a month when they do very little and this amount increases depending on the speed of your ADSL connection. You state the other Telcos don't install DSlams in unprofitable exchanges, firstly Telstra doesn't allow DSLams to be installed in every exchange for various reasons. Secondly these other Telcos aren't making the same profits as Telstra. So that don't have the money to spend. However if you visit TPG, internode and Internode even recently invested in a underwater cable between Australia and AsiaIInets websites you can see they and slowly installing more dslams every month.
    So its inaccurate to state other Telcos and building infrastructure.
    The only solution to this is to split the Telstra into a retail and wholesale provider. Similar to what New Zealand did. Once this happens we'll have fair wholesale access for any Telco.
    I think Telstra provide a great doing great things with their NextG network, and are building the fastest mobile network in the world. But once again they are pricing it outside the budget of the average Australian and effective restricting it to the rich and businesses. What Telstra should do is make there prices more reasonable, be price competitive with 3, Optus and Vodafone. Then it won't be long till they'll be Australia's most love Telco again.
    anonymous
  • Great respone, who do you work for?

    "Internode, investing in wireless infrastructure all over South Australia, and installing ADSL dslams in exchanges even where Telstra didn't"

    Internode only announced the wireless project with access assurances from the government (something Telstra has only recently started getting), Name one exchange with a DSLAM that they have installed where Telstra hasn't. You won't because the simple answer is none.

    Nowra and Dubbo, these are highly populated exchanges with 10,000 to 25,000 households hanging off them and as such the return is there. Find one exchange that has under 5,000 households and you will find they will not go near it. The new 900 Telstra ADSL2+ enables exchanges average only 2,777 households per exchange with many of these below 500 residence.

    "they get a cut of every adsl connection's monthly fee"

    If the other Telco has their own DSLAM's then Telstra only get the ACCC regulated ULL charge, if they want to "piggyback" on Telstra's network then Telstra deserves to get a share of the ADSL and backhaul related fees.

    "So Telstra are making money even when they don't provide the internet connection network infrastructure since this is provided by the other Telco. The only exception to this is the naked DSL which Telstra fought hard to stop. So is it profitable? I don't know but it seems Telstra gets least $30 a month when they do very little and this amount increases depending on the speed of your ADSL connection"

    The only income Telstra gets if another Telco truly uses their own infrastructure is (without wanting to repeat myself) the ACCC regulated ULL and exchange access charges. Issue is most also want to rent backhaul bandwidth from Telstra or another major Telco as many won't even invest intra exchange connections. I assume this $30 fee you talk about is for the companies that actually use a Telstra DSLAM which makes it $14.30 for the ULL and then $15 for access to the DSLAM. As much as people want to pretend naked DSL is the be all and end all, nobody seems to consider that this still requires access to the copper and is at ACCC regulated rates.

    "Telstra doesn't allow DSLams to be installed in every exchange for various reasons"

    If Telstra denies access to a legitimate request to any exchange then this is a complaint process is available, one company raised a complaint straight after the 900 exchange announcement, my guess is this was done out of a sour grapes reaction as some of the allegations are over 6 months old, let's wait and see the outcome before trying to make the allegation sound like fact.

    "these other Telcos aren't making the same profits as Telstra. So that don't have the money to spend. However if you visit TPG, internode and Internode even recently invested in a underwater cable between Australia and AsiaIInets websites you can see they and slowly installing more dslams every month"

    Yes a company will invest based on their own profitability and size but don't try and pass this off as the reason for their lack of investment in certain areas. Why is it some exchange have 7 (or more) different competing Telco DSLAM's and others there is only Telstra? If they really cared about the country and not their profits they would not connect parallel services competing against each other and instead spread them across the country, develop a sharing agreement and compete with Telstra on a wider footprint. The underwater cable has nothing to do with the domestic access environment, this is to provide global transmission and this is one area where Telstra is just another average size player.

    "The only solution to this is to split the Telstra into a retail and wholesale provider."

    Agree but the operational separation model has been put in place and to obtain complete separation, to the point of different ASX listings, the entire 5 year transformation process needs to be finalised and this should enable separation once and for all. Will you publish your name and the company
    anonymous
  • Telco's avoid buyin Backhaul from Telstra

    All Telcos avoid buying Backhaul from Telstra as much as possible.
    There other many other providers that supply backhaul to exchanges, such as PIPE and I believe Optus also does.
    You only need to buy back haul from Telstra if you are renting the DLSAM ports from Telstra Wholesale.

    If you are using ULL you rent the copper pair from Telstra and the RACK space in the exchange and you get full control over the line and can use your own back haul or someone elses to your Datacentre.
    If you use LSS you just rent the ADSL spectrum on the line and the Rack space, and again can use any backhaual
    anonymous