Telstra 'needlessly denied consumers on ADSL2+'

Telstra 'needlessly denied consumers on ADSL2+'

Summary: Liberal communications spokesperson Bruce Billson has accused the Rudd government of having an inconsistent stance on its dealings with Telstra and its activation of the ADSL2+ network -- but one analyst claims it could all just be semantics.


Liberal communications spokesperson Bruce Billson has accused the Rudd government of having an inconsistent stance on its dealings with Telstra and its activation of the ADSL2+ network -- but one analyst claims it could all just be semantics.

Billson described Telstra's decision to switch on its ADSL2+ network over 900 exchanges across the country as "absolutely self-serving".

"Telstra has had that capability for quite some time now and they've needlessly denied consumers access to it until a competitor in the area comes along ... I'd hate to think the company's actions were solely motivated by trying to scuttle the OPEL proposal," he said.

"It was argued by them that there had been some kind of regulatory impediment stopping them from providing access to the network, but it was simply a convenient justification for having held it back."

According to a statement released late last week by Billson's office, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had "boasted" about the decisions made by Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy to persuade Telstra to provide access to the network, despite Conroy's claims he had "no role" in the decision making process.

"I think the Prime Minister got a little carried away in Parliament taking credit for things his government has not been responsible for," said Billson. "What Kevin Rudd stated in parliament is directly at odds with what Conroy said last weekend."

Billson's comments come after the telco was advised by the ACCC to switch on access to the network, foreshadowing the possibility of regulatory action.

Shara Evans, CEO of telecommunications analyst firm Market Clarity, said that Conroy's only role in the affair was the "decision" to write to Telstra referring them to the ACCC's regulatory advice.

"It appeared to me that the letter from Conroy was very much quoting other ACCC statements on the subject, which Telstra then took as a green light to proceed with rolling out ADSL2+," she said.

Evans said that Billson's assertions were most likely just an attempt to exploit a "miscommunication" between the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy.

"Clearly the whole thing has been music to Telstra's ears, it puts them back in the game when a lot this government's election promises were highly distasteful to them," said Billson.

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

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  • Memo to Telstra and whatever current political party

    We want better services at cheaper prices.

    Which part of this don't you understand.
  • Memo to customer

    We want a monopoly with monopoly pricing. If our purposes coincide occassionally with those of the incumbent government in travelling down that road, well and good. The shareholder is king, the customer can't go elsewhere when there is no elsewhere to go...
  • Memo to ACCC( competition stops cheaper prices)

    Ignore the competition when they cry if Telstra gives the consumer cheaper prices. People in the regional areas are being held to ransom by the competition who continue to ignore the areas outside the citys
  • memo to accc

    why ignore the competition i am hoping thay move into where i live has telstra has made no point at all for supplying us with broadband even though the exchange supports it there excuse is old lines but i know that is a lie it is because the lines are paired please please someone come and supply us with broadband trying to run a buisness on dial up is no joke in this day and age and has for telstra we ned competiion to make them listen and not rob us with download limits and prices
  • Memo to liberal politicians and the media

    The consumer may have had to wait a little longer then they wanted for the service but Telstra obviously does not want to sell this product on a wholesale level. Some may see this as a negative action on Telstra's behalf but the reality is it will force other companies who want to remain competitive to move out of focusing on easy money in the cities and start installing services in rural areas.
  • Self Serving - waiting for competiton to comer along

    MMMM I dont get this - The artyicle suggests that Telstra waited until competition came along tio the areas that they have previously denied ADSL2+ services in- opened up ADSL 2+ at higher plan costs - higher costs than competitors in those same exchanges????
    mmm so how does charging more than your competitors become self serving???
  • Self Serving

    Because now they're turning it on in over 900 exchanges that other competitors aren't in.

    While that seems ok, here's the kicker. Telstra have unilaterally blocked access to 'other' providers installing their equipment in those exchanges, creating a monopoly on ADSL 2 to 100's of thousands of customers.
  • MMMM get this ...

    The simple fact that any competitor who wants to offer an ADSL2+ access would have to pay to but the CMUX's, have them maintained, pay for back haul, pay for authentication servers, pay for technicians etc.

    The costs associated with this will either drive competitors out of those areas completely and will show them for what they really care about ... profits or alternatively they will have no choice but to increase their prices in metro areas to counteract their higher costs.

    Most of the companies that pretend to compete with Telstra focus on metro areas and as such have a much lower cost per subscriber basis then Telstra, as soon as they try and expand to lower per sq km population areas this cost basis will increase substantially.
  • unilaterally blocked access?

    What The ... ?

    Any communications company can apply for access into any one of Telstra's exchanges. If for any reason Telstra denies access to these the company can lodge a complaint to the ACCC and it the reason for denying access is not justified then I am sure it will be all over the media.

    One company held a media conference a couple of weeks ago stating this was the case but it has went quiet very quickly, I can only assume from this is that it is being investigated or alternatively the media release was simply free publicity and a Telstra bagging session.
  • But it comes back to the old dilemma

    There are a number of hurdles to overcome for a competitor to access regional areas. Probably the biggest is backhaul. Unless the build their own, they have to use Telstra, and at very expensive rates.

    Is it commercially viable to introduce the backhaul capacity? In some cases yes, Internode have done this in some regional areas of SA. The real flaw in Telstra's NWAT argument about competitors not willing to invest in backhaul, is that Telstra's own was built with government funding. Even with the straw man argument that Telstra has "bought" the network and paid the government back many times over, is that the government paid for the first network and contibuted heavily to construction for many years afterwards. PMG/Telecom/Telstra then had the operating revenue from this "original" build to update and expand capacity, and only after that did profit flow back to government.

    So before we start "shooting" the competitors down, I suggest the government build a duplicate CAN, let a competitor run it for say 80 years in a protected environment and then we can start making comparisons between the various entities in the market.
  • Memo to the jackasses at Telstra

    You, Telstra, have had the capability of providing ADSL2+ on EVERY EXCHANGE IN AUSTRAIA for years.

    You gave us "high-speed broadband" at 1.5Mbps and whinged that it was the best. We called you out on it and you reluctantly "flipped the switch" to enable 8192Mbps and told us how wonderful you were.

    The DSLAMs were capable of this all along, you just wanted to gouge us for more money.

    Then you claim that "not all exchanges can support ADSL2+" and that "... the DSLAMs will have to be upgraded at a substantial cost"...

    Bollocks !!! All they need is a FIRMWARE upgrade, something even your engineers could do remotely, and most of the current DSLAMs will handle ADSL2+ and beyond quite comfortably.

    Again, you lie and cheat to make money at the expense of the Australian public - the public WHO OWN YOU !!!

    You advertise "unlimited broadband plans" that have LIMITS. False advertising.

    You charge $150/Gb for "overages", while your competitors change $3/Gb - competitors who RESELL YOUR BANDWIDTH - and you have the audacity to state that "we can't compete with that".

    Telstra, you have kept Australia bogged down in technological ignorance for far too long, treating us like a third world country, and now you're running scared that we know...

    The Australian people have HAD ENOUGH !!!
  • Competiton PUNISHES the regional/rural areas

    Yes Australians have had enough of companies like Optus who always neglect the regional areas and charge $150/GB. Other competitors are waiting for Telstra so they can whinge about Telstra not sharing when, they dont get off thier own backsides and help the regional areas.

    Optus Australians HAD ENOUGH of you whinging AND BEING HYPOCRITICAL and doing nothing.
  • hmmmm

    I thought the only reason Telstra was still out in regional areas was because they are FORCED to be under the USO...
  • If peopel want competition

    The competition should be forced into regional/rural areas also.

    If the government wants competition they would make Optus and other bigger companies to compete. The smaller Isps such as internode who have under 200,000 customers, should also be asking why Optus arent in regional/rurals areas.
  • Backhaul from Telstra? very expensive

    If there is a regional area that is only served by Telstra then the ACCC declare the backhaul (same as the copper) and regulate the price. In fact even if there are two or three competing backhaul companies then the ACCC has the ability to regulate rates. Stop using the we have no choice B*** S**** because in cases when there is no competition the ACCC is in there helping to screw Telstra.

    Built with government funding and every cent was paid back to the government as part of the whole T1, T2 and T3 privatisation. Take a good look at the way the sale was calculated, you will find that all infrastructure, building and upgrade costs were considered during the sale process.

    You mention Internode, they are targeting one small market (under 20% of Telstra's coverage by land mass in SA) and for them it is quite profitable and suits their business model to focus on one fairly small target market.

    And I am happy to have another company run a network for 80 years in a protected environment as long as for the next 20 or 30 years that same company gets forced to allow access to those assets at stupid prices by a stupid department to companies who will not spend 5c of their own money to build any resemblance of a competing network unless they get some sort of free boost from someone else.
  • USO

    Optus actually bid for the USO, won it and Telstra was happy to hand it over. It wasn't until Optus realised the real cost of the USO and that they would not make easy money that they gave up and walked away from the contract.

    What did the government do? (as you said) forced to take it over again at a huge loss. All those pretend service providers who do not know what a dirt road looks like are happy to target the 400 major exchanges, take the easy profits and then stand on their soap box saying big bad Telstra does nothing for anyone.
  • Memo to the jackass that wrote above

    The Australian people have HAD ENOUGH of these paid attacks against Telstra!!!

    8 years ago there was no such thing as ADSL2+, when the ADSL roll out started, a coverage decision was made and to offer 1.5Mbps as 90% of people would be within the distance to obtain this. 8 years ago people were still happy getting 128kbps on ISDN and to offer 12 times this almost overnight who would have complained.

    EVERY exchange, are you aware that there are over 5000 exchanges with many of these literally sheds with under 500 phone lines connecting into them? Before you make such a blanket statement why don't you take a look out from under your blanket?

    Telstra is forced to charge one flat price for ADSL regardless of location meaning in remote areas where the cost to maintain is much higher they still pay the same as someone in Melbourne's CBD. If they could charge for broadband services based on regional pricing they in the CBD I am sure ADSL would be much cheaper, in metro areas a little more and in the bust much more. Excess usage would also follow suit, you compare companies who probably have their own backhaul in the city and don't even enter the bush with a company that is forced to supply services to areas at a loss.

    Telstra asked for one flat price across the country but as expected the ACCC sided with all the little ISP's who were afraid they would not make as big a profit if that happened.

    Unlimited broadband plans with limits were introduced by Optus from memory so once again a comment from someone who doesn't want to see beyond their own bigotry.

    And finally ... running scared ... It's more like a nice stroll though the countryside, one of these days you will look out of your high rise building and realise that there is a big wide open country out there with plenty of investment opportunities ripe for the taking ... if you can convince your employer to spend some money on them.
  • paid attacks!

    Huh? a bit of paranoia? The service is free.

    It is a democracy, maybe not one to Telstra's liking being such an ugly child.
  • What a comeback

    As you can not argue to the person's response all you can do is attack the one line accusing the writer of working for a telstra competitor.

    Why don't you address the other points, or is it you know they are true and know you have no argument?
  • If only Telstra could compete

    It would be nice for Telstra to compete. The prices the competitors "buy" capacity off Telstra is well below the base costs. Thats why competitors can sell this capacity lower than Telstra. So if they didn't want to turn on ADSL 2+ and then have to give it to competitors for next to nothing, who can blame them. And why has G9 who receive $900 mill to start up a rural network 9 months ago not even submitted plans or a project, let alone turned on 1 site?