Terria spruiking hits fever pitch

Terria spruiking hits fever pitch

Summary: Broadband consortium Terria has begun a national campaign to raise public awareness about itself and the planned national broadband network, simultaneously lodging a submission to the opposition-led Senate committee enquiry about the network.

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Broadband consortium Terria has begun a national campaign to raise public awareness about itself and the planned national broadband network, simultaneously lodging a submission to the opposition-led Senate committee enquiry about the network.

A Terria billboard in Canberra
(Credit: Terria)

The consortium of eight telcos, led by Optus, today unveiled a major advertising campaign in Canberra's airport as the beginning of a national onslaught to raise awareness of the network with stakeholders, business and community with advertising and networking.

"It's not even been an issue that's so far been covered in the general media," Terria chairman Michael Egan told ZDNet.com.au today.

In Canberra today Terria lodged its submission to the Senate select committee, established by the opposition in June to inquire into and report on the government's plan to partner with private companies to provide minimum speeds of 12Mbps to 98 per cent of Australians on an open access basis.

The committee will consider aspects of the network such as availability, choice, costs and competition as well as consequences for productivity, investment and economic growth and cost of living.

A Terria spokesperson said government processes precluded the details of the submission being made public, but Egan said it included the sentiment that the national broadband network "has great potential to do good, and great potential to do bad if we don't get it right."

Doing it right meant having a genuinely open access network, because the network would bypass exchanges where competition had been created by rivals installing their own equipment to use with Telstra's copper network, he said.

Terria chairman Michael Egan
(Credit: Terria)

Being open required a separated group to run the network, Egan continued, something he also canvassed yesterday in a speech at Sydney conference.

No amount of regulation could change this need, according to Egan.

"A major retailer, owning and running the national broadband network, will always have both the ability and the incentive to stifle competition. And that will apply regardless of the level of regulation that is put in place to try to prevent any exercise of monopoly power," he said in his speech yesterday.

"Short of giving regulators arbitrary and summary powers, and an army of investigators and monitors, no regulatory framework will ever be adequate to ensure a completely level playing field."

Telstra's role in creating this situation hasn't made it the devil, Egan said, instead calling the company the product of human nature.

"And that is not because Telstra is evil incarnate ... it's not the only company that will put its own interests ahead of the national interest if it's given half an opportunity to do so. It's simply an inevitable fact of life when opportunity, commercial incentives and human nature combine."

Egan believed that to get Telstra onto the path of telecommunications righteousness, the telco had to be protected from itself if it won the NBN tender, via structural separation. "Whenever you want people to do right, remove the temptation to do wrong," he said.

However, the word separate had violent effects on the nation's number one telco, Egan said. "For Telstra, however, the word 'separate' is like a red rag to a bull. It sends them berserk."

It's not even been an issue that's so far been covered in the general media

Terria Chairman Michael Egan

Egan accused Telstra of being stuck in a mindset two centuries old. "Telstra's approach ... is that the owners of private property should be able to do whatever they like with that property, unencumbered by any social or community obligations. And that is a perfectly reasonable argument — at least for a nineteenth century laissez-faire capitalist," he said.

If competition had to come from companies investing in their own competing infrastructure, as Telstra believed, then each international airline flying in or out of Australia would have its own terminal and airport, Egan said.

Telstra has been stuck in a state of denial Egan said, a condition he hoped would improve now that the company's high profile GM public policy and communications Phil Burgess has left.

"Its refusal can only be the result of an irrational belief that only it has the capacity and funding to build the network and that it can therefore ignore the public policy objectives of a genuine open access network.

"It will be fascinating to see whether this irrationality and truculence survives Telstra's very recent announcement of changes in its senior management personnel," he said.

At the press conference today, Egan also said that the roll out of the network should first focus on locations that are currently under-serviced by broadband and not start in the cities.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, 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

14 comments
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  • NBN competition for all.

    How charming, we find ourselves being advised by a person whose Party (when he was a member of it) made some of the biggest blunders known to mankind. He also lacks knowledge of the telecommunication system in Australia and was selected for the job because of his political connections.

    Also he promotes the situation of a monopoly being established with no opposition allowed to it which, considering his recent call for competition for Telstra, is really outrageous. I hope Telstra, if they are not awarded the NBN build, proceed with their own system in the interests of true competition.
    anonymous
  • Terria FRAUD

    Did I read that right, Terria's solution is to totally bypass FTTN for the exchanges where competition (copper) currently exists!

    So they want to bid for the FTTN project and not provide fibre to the node !

    And are generously offering to give the greatest equity share of Terria to Telstra.

    There is word to describe Michael Egan, It starts with M and ends with ORON.

    What a complete wanker. Its so obvious who is afraid of competion and doing all it can to delay or stop progress and it aint Telstra.
    anonymous
  • Learn to Read

    I suggest you learn to read.

    "the roll out of the network should first focus on locations that are currently under-serviced by broadband and not start in the cities."

    Why start by providing better Broadband to the well serviced areas when there are plenty of people on far less (worse since Telstra got rid of ISDN). There are plenty of areas unable to access ANY broadband servcie that need to be addressed first.
    anonymous
  • Missing Phil Yet?

    A structually separated business with a focus on providing equal access to all retail operations is the best way forward for Australia. As has been pointed out, an integrated company with it's fingers in both the supply of services and sale of the end retail product will always be in a position where it can be accused of working to the detriment of it's wholesale customers. Removing the retail side allows for a fairer playing field and no accusation of bias.
    anonymous
  • More Like

    Advance Australia Reliably ... Will not happen with Optus around!
    anonymous
  • Terria Fraud

    "Doing it right meant having a genuinely open access network, because the network would bypass exchanges where competition had been created by rivals installing their own equipment to use with Telstra's copper network, he said."

    I suggest your the one who learns to read. But hoping you learn to think would be asking way too much. Even if you were right simple economics would tell you thats a dumb idea unless your Terria who clearly want to delay FTTN in the cities for as long as possible.
    anonymous
  • No, Keep reading, think too ;)

    Dude - i think what he is talking about is the fact that the NBN is going to STRAND (ie: BYPASS) exchanges where competition exists already.

    His point was - up until now, the consumer has benefited from the competition created by those competing dslams.

    No, this isn't something that can be disputed, don't bother, you'll be shot down by history.

    SO: What he is saying is: Because that competition will be removed/stranded by the NBN, it's very important for the CONSUMER, that competition at the ISP level is encouraged.

    It's not rocket science mate.

    Oh, Sydney/Atilla: I hope you read his nice quote about the difference between ISP competition (something that's good for the consumer) - and "Pure, actual, on paper, Infrastructure" competition. IE: every airline should have it's own airport.

    We don't NEED competition at the network level. That's where ISP's should co-operate, for the (ACTUAL) National Interest.

    Let's not argue dogma here, get practical.

    Do you use the internet? Yes? Don't you want the best service, at a fair price?
    Then logically, you'd want competition at the ISP level, not at the network level.

    Or: Are you just worried about your personal share portfolio, and screw the rest of the economy?
    Then, you'd want one company, with vertical integration, to own and control the NBN and choke out ISP competition.

    Simple really, isn't it? ;)
    anonymous
  • la la land

    dear Mr Egan
    I must be back at Parramatta Psychiatric Hospital having a talk with a patient.
    A $8 shelf co. ( Terria ) ( no income , no assets ) asking for $4.7 billion dollars from the taxpayer and telling a $60 billion co ( tls ) that it's assets will be confiscated ,all to build a FTTN system with no clear idea as to the costs,
    income , charges.
    I think the $8 shelf ( Terria ) is related that B.
    Brown mob.
    anonymous
  • Loosers

    Get rid of Optus.
    anonymous
  • You love to suck Telstra cock!

    Go back to Telstra blog
    anonymous
  • I call Bullshit

    Go back to the Telstra blog Sydney
    anonymous
  • @you love to

    grow up fool. you are as my name suggests.
    anonymous
  • optic fibre communications for australia

    does anybody know if it is technically possible to adopt an all optic comms system which would involve switching at exchanges would permit video phones and blindingly fast interneyt at say 5 G b/s I APPRECIATE THAT IT WOULD BE EXPENSIVE but if we are going to change then optic fibre to homes / businesses seems justified.
    optic fibre is now an old technology
    we could have radio connection at the peripheries say last 8 % of customers,
    optic fibre for say 90 % of customers
    as i am an electrical power engineer i feel that the best use of copper is as electrical underground cable.
    nevilleford17@yahoo.com.au
    anonymous
  • missing phil yet ?

    I AGREE WITH A MONOPOLIST OWNER OF BROADBAND SO AUSTRALIA DOES NOT BUILD A MULTIPLE OF OPTIC FIBRE NETWORKS AT HUGE COST BUT THERE MUST BE RETAIL COMPETITION, THESE RETAILERS MUST BE ABLE TO COMPLAIN AGAINST WHOLESALER TO A REGULATOR WHO INVESTIGATES COMPLAINTS AND SUBMITS A REPORT TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO MAKES FINAL DECISION
    anonymous