Telstra, Terria jostle for position

Telstra, Terria jostle for position

Summary: Terria and Telstra today welcomed Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's move to name 26 November as the final deadline for bids to build and operate the planned national broadband network, but did not change their positions on how the initiative should go forward.

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Terria and Telstra today welcomed Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's move to name 26 November as the final deadline for bids to build and operate the planned national broadband network, but did not change their positions on how the initiative should go forward.

Conroy this morning announced that the government had received the necessary network information from all the carriers and had judged it compliant. Proponents now have access to the information and have 12 weeks to lodge their proposals.

David Quilty
(Credit: Telstra)

Although both Telstra and Terria, a conglomerate of rival firms, welcomed the start of the race, Telstra maintained it was only prepared to build the network "as long as it is in [its] shareholders' interest to do so". The telco has previously threatened not to build the network if structural separation was a condition of building the network.

Terria felt the need to insist that its bid would be "technologically first-rate", while Telstra took the chance to talk up its experience.

"For over 100 years, Telstra has been connecting Australians, going to places where no other company is willing to go," Telstra's group managing director, public policy and communications David Quilty said in a statement.

Quilty called the network an "upgrade to Telstra's existing network", insinuating that since Telstra knew Telstra best, it would be the logical choice.

Terria played to the broadband lower-class, reiterating that it would take care of them first.

"The national broadband network is a great opportunity for country and regional areas, and a number of metropolitan 'black spots', to finally get a fair-go," Terria chairman Michael Egan said in a statement.

Meanwhile, it also pulled out its tried and trained battle horse — structural separation — saying it was imperative the network must be separated from access seekers.

Quilty denigrated separation as strongly as Egan had praised it, saying that Telstra would provide open access to the network without it.

"Open access means that Telstra's competitors will be able to access the NBN on an equivalent basis as Telstra's own business units," Quilty said, adding that he expected the promise to be watched over by the regulator.

Terria chairman Michael Egan
(Credit: Terria)

"Telstra's guarantee of open access renders obsolete the 'fool's gold' debate around separation. Separation increases costs and kills off investment and it has not worked anywhere in the world," he concluded.

Telstra was quiet on the delays to the deadline, despite its former public policy and communications Phil Burgess previously accusing the government of "dithering".

Egan excused the fact that the deadline for proposals had been pushed back almost half a year — the date in the original request for proposals stood at 25 July.

"Without that information it would have been impossible for competitive bids to be developed and lodged," he said. "The government promised a competitive process and is living up to that promise."

Other bodies which have put in a bond but have kept a lower profile include TransACT, Acacia and the Tasmanian government.

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

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

6 comments
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  • Telstra gonna make good?

    You know, i've always been against Telstra for a multitude of reasons. But i believe they would hold true to their open access promise and they do have a good point on structural seperation, i may very well hinder progress.
    BUT
    The problem is this: We all know Telstra. They say open access. But they'll jack the wholesale prices way up to suit the overly expensive Bigpond and everyone else will be forced to do the same.

    Its a no-brainer who should really win the NBN tender in my opinion.
    anonymous
  • Support Aussie Companies!!

    yeh I agree...Telstra!!

    Lets support An Australian company instead of shipping the prophets off shore to Singapore!!
    anonymous
  • The Publics Needs First!

    Seriously folks, irrespective of what mantra Terria touts, lets have a good look at this situation. Telstra (the old Telecom) have been ripping off the Australian public (a bit like Qantas) for how long, let's quote Mr Quilty, "For over 100 years". Have a good think about how much chjeaper costs for all of us are now that there is competition, lets analyse how difficult each of the competitor telco's DAILY business is being forced to deal with Telstra's copper lines, deliberate daily obstruction which ultimately effects us as the end customers. Telstra continue to make massive profits - how is that the case? By continuing to rip us off - the Australian public. Competitive tension is the only way to keep them honest and look after ourselves as the consumer
    anonymous
  • Do whats best for the people

    This vital for the Australian economy and must be done right.

    It is far better to give a couple billion of profits off shore then have an overpriced network that consumers and business cannot afford.

    At the end of the day we want a broadband network that is affordable and reliable, it shouldn't matter where the company that build it is based.

    Make the decision based on long term benifits, be it telstra or another company.
    anonymous
  • Support aussie Companies!!

    20% of Telstra's share register is now held outside of Australia...so now who do we give the NBN to?...maybe your Prophet can tell us??
    anonymous
  • @support

    the 80% oz company, hello.
    anonymous