Telstra's WiMax case against Coonan thrown out

Telstra's WiMax case against Coonan thrown out

Summary: Telstra today lost its court battle to see confidential documents belonging to Communications Minister Helen Coonan, which related to a government decision to allocate almost AU$1 billion to a rival.


Telstra today lost its court battle to see confidential documents belonging to Communications Minister Helen Coonan, which related to a government decision to allocate almost AU$1 billion to a rival.

In the Federal Court today, Justice Peter Graham dismissed Telstra's application and ordered it to pay the Minister's costs.

In his judgement, Justice Graham said: "It is certainly arguable that part of Telstra's motivation for bringing the current application is to achieve some measure of publicity for its cause and its criticism of what has been referred to as foreign aid for Singapore."

Telstra had taken the Minister to court seeking documents pertaining to how the government had chosen the winning bidder to build a WiMax network across the bush.

Coonan said in June that it had selected OPEL, a joint venture between Optus and Elders, to build the bush WiMax network and that the funding for the project had been increased to AU$1 billion, up from the AU$600 million originally earmarked for the scheme.

Telstra alleged that only the winning bidder, OPEL, was made aware of the funding increase during the tender process.

A spokesperson for the Minister's office told ZDNet Australia: "The judgement today speaks for itself. For the government, we welcomed Telstra's participation in the Australian Broadband Guarantee and that's really the way forward."

Telstra's group general counsel, Will Irving, said that the government's decisions on the WiMax network remained mired in secrecy.

"It shouldn't be this hard to find out why the Australian government spent AU$1 billion of taxpayers' money supporting a Singapore-backed proposal that didn't even achieve the government's stated aims," he said in a statement.

While access to the Minister's documents has been denied, Telstra still has the option to pursue further legal action.

"We will be closely analysing the judgment before determining our next legal steps," Irving said.

AAP contributed to this story.

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

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  • Telstra are pathetic, sour losers.

    They put in a bid DESIGNED TO FAIL, and they failed.

    They cried like a baby when the Optus-Elders consortium won, because they put in a valid bid, which will be good for rural Australians.

    Telstra's board are an absolute disgrace.

    I look forward to my OPEL $40 high-speed WiMAX connection in 18 months time, because I've been waiting on ADSL for years, and TLS just DON'T CARE!
  • Good luck

    Hope your $40 service is as good as the foundations it was built on... Hot air
  • Re: Good Luck

    "Hot Air" An apt description of Telstra's 98% coverage next G wireless BB during my trial here on the NSW Mid Nth Coast.
    And ONLY $185/month for a whopping great can they afford it?
  • $1B of tax payers money

    How can 1B of tax payers money be spent on an inferior network with no public scrutiny. This is a sham. Coonan is a fool and she will be out of a job soon. Let the market drive the competition, not the govt.
  • Absolutely Agree...

    If Telstra were really interested in being a decent telco they would get on with the job of providing service rather than wasting time in court and wasting time with those crappy, non factual ads about how great our phone service is. Great perhaps compared to some third world nation perhaps? Telstra? 98% bull.
  • I'll have 2 years of great Next G, you can wait

    My work was running an Optus private network and were not looking at changing but as soon as we tested the Next G we immediately saw the benefits. I am one of about 200 people at my work using Next G on laptops and PDA's.

    I've been using this brilliant service running voice, a PDA as well as a Next G router at the remote company site I work at. We had had no choice but to use satellite for data until we switched.

    The VPN through the router works reliably to head office, my PDA allows me to stay connected when I am walking around company site.

    My boss is happy to pay $200 per month for the router and another 80 per month for the data on the PDA to improve my productivity by at least an hour each day.

    The reason we switched was not 98% bull but an estimated $1,000,000 each year in productivity improvements.

    I would be more then happy to not use Telstra if any other company was willing to invest in our area but they are not.