What did the G9 leave out of its press release?

What did the G9 leave out of its press release?

Summary: Australians have a right to know exactly what the G9 is planning.

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Most reporters are naturally curious people -- we just love getting to the bottom of any story to find out what's really going on.

That's why the G9 group of telcos (Optus, AAPT, iiNet and so on) piqued my interest last week when they issued a press release detailing the formal lodgement of their draft proposal for a new nationwide fibre broadband network.

Most of the press release was pretty clean-cut -- this is who we are, this is what we want to do, etc etc etc. Like any good corporate statement it took a swipe at the industry giant -- in this case Telstra -- and painted the G9 as the nation's broadband saviour.

However your reporter was most disappointed to see that the G9 did not disclose its formal proposal in full to the media -- instead providing us with an edited package of "highlights". I contacted Optus, but the telco would not provide a copy of the draft document for publication.

This behaviour is reminiscent of Telstra's own actions when it took its own proposition last year to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The telco continually dropped hints about what its fibre plans were, but never provided the public with a full document showing what they exactly entailed. The telco has still not yet done so, after more than a year of debate on a national fibre broadband network.

For the G9 to keep its own proposal private is hypocritical, given several G9 member telcos have in the past lambasted Telstra's refusal to make its proposal public.

That the G9 would also choose to keep its undertaking to the competition regulator secret does not bode well for the Australian public. It suggests that there is information in that document that the G9 wishes to keep behind closed doors for the time being.

The fundamental problem with this approach is that if nearly every major telco in Australia is collaborating on an infrastructure build that will affect the whole nation, Australians have a right to know exactly what they are planning.

Of course, more information is expected to come to light if the ACCC follows through on its expected course and eventually asked for public comment on the G9 plan.

Until then, Australia can only sit and wait while nine major telcos, Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan and the competition regulator keep it under their hat.

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

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11 comments
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  • Haven't you missed something?

    If I recall correctly, the same statement also clearly indicated that the proposal will be made public as part of the ACCC review process.

    "A public consultation process would be undertaken by the ACCC following the final SAU being lodged."

    Thus the public *will* be informed as a result - indeed the ACCC would seeking public submissions as part of the process.

    Is the author aware of that somewhat glaring omission in his article?
    anonymous
  • Business acumen

    "Australians have a right to know exactly what they are planning."

    What a load of crock. Why should G9 be telling us all the details of their proposal? We really don't need to know anything unless it involves our money.

    All Australians should care about is getting their shiny new network, with decent access charges.

    The goings-on behind the scene are irrelevant, and somewhat useless, until the network is in the final planning stages at least.
    anonymous
  • they all pretty much the same

    optus will allways tell you it Telstra's fault. They will build a network to go where there is easy money and then stop the roll out. It's what they do.

    look at there cable network
    adsl 2 rollout they never plan for it to be a large % of population, just a large % of the money exchanges they hardley go where only Telstra has gone. You have to realise they all want tesltra to do the work for them. but telstra now has shareholders not like when it was govt owned. you have 2 big companys after money and some little ones holding on to the coat tales for a free ride.
    anonymous
  • hypocrital people

    I am ashamed to be a supporter of the G9

    See how people are showing thier hypocricy and ignrance, if telstra done this people would be attacking telstra.

    Come on you hypocrits stop showing your lack of intelligence, the g9 is caught lying and you cant handle it.
    anonymous
  • You've gotta be joking...

    To say that the G9 have been as closed on the issue as Telstra, is ridiculous.

    Telstra has refused to give even BASIC PRICING INFORMATION on the new network, that customers would be likely to pay. To be honest, other than how much I as a customer would be paying - I couldn't give a toss!

    The G9 has a number of presentations online giving details of their pricing structure, and how the network would work.

    Another glaring omission from your article Renai is the fact that as part of the SAU final stage, the document IS released to the public. It's in draft form at the moment, think as it as 'being glanced at' by the ACCC - so regardless of it being public or not, it makes no difference.

    It'll come when it's done - more than Telstra ever got to.
    anonymous
  • The veneer of G9 openess is peeling away

    Maybe the G9 FTTN will be the best thing since sliced bread, but there many many unanswered questions about it, and I'll bet that even when some further detail becomes available through the SAU process, all the really important bits will be "commercial-in-confidence and so not visible! Some G9 representatives on Whirlpool have already hinted as much!
    anonymous
  • It Is A Draft Proposal

    The Optus link you provided in the second paragraph points to the press release that contained the word "draft" on about 12 or 13 occassions.

    It was submitted to the ACCC as such in order to determine whether there were any regulatory issues involved. Once the ACCC has assessed the document, it will be put in the public domain for comment.
    anonymous
  • Ignorance is bliss (but not in uninformed posts)

    C'mon, what a crock about nothing. The meat of the documents relate to an "open network" ie anybody can gain access on a level playing field. Some G9 ISP reps have stated on Whirlpool that they believe the wholesale port prices may be as low as $24pm.

    Certainly better than Telstra's "we won't even imply a port pricing" along with cosy chats with Helen Coonan to remove pricing/the whole Telstra FTTN proposal from ACCC regulation. And you know very well where that will lead- damn expensive SLOW broadband, with a Telstra/BP monopoly
    anonymous
  • G9 & Telstra

    The problem I am having with the current FTTN discussion is that it assumes that the Government must fund a private company to build public infrastructure. You only have to look at past PPPs for infrastructure in Australia to see that it doesn't work. Sydney's roads are a classic example and who would have thought roads were difficult?
    I want to know where the lobby for Public ownership of critical infrastructure resides and who are their champions? Private enterprise consistently demonstrates that it is not suited to public service, as this conflicts with shareholders' interests. It's about time Australia woke up to the myth of market forces and realises it's a great big continent with scarce resources in people and infrastructure. We cannot afford the luxury of getting this wrong!
    anonymous
  • G9 only playing TELSTRA at own game

    Well Renai, you are correct about a reporters natural curiosity but to counter Telstras secrecy and prevent any opportunity for TELSTRA to talk down the G9 proposal before it's even considered by the 'Powers that be", I would play the game the same way as would you if put in their position.
    Telstra is a formidable opponent and also they can't be trusted.
    Telstra is still not telling so why should G9.

    I do have just one more comment and that is that subsequent to the Post Office having the telecommunications part of their business divested from them by the government of the day, the copper wire network was next owned by AUSTEL which was Basicaly code for the Australian Government telecommunications hardware division.. Telstra, a retailer and user of those services, used the AUSTEL network.
    I think that the G9 idea of going back to a similar though private enterprise system is OK with me and I see no reason why they should not use the existing Australian Taxpayer Owned Copper network if it helps to reduce the cost to the citizens of Australia.
    After all Telstra did not buy that system ever, so it still belongs to us all under their provisional stewardship.
    As a taxpayer, I give my permission for this to happen and for TELSTRA to be given equal rights.
    anonymous
  • Sharing is caring- NOT!!!

    Have any of you wonder that perhaps the g9 is not hiding anything from you TELSTRA telstra?
    Have you thought what would happen if the g9 release any of their 'hidden' details of their proposal to the public? Do you think telstra will just sit there and not do anything about it if that happens? As frustrating as it may sound i'll rather the g9 keep it to themselves and ensure the public benefit from it than having telstra wanting to experiment these ideas themselves and have more power over the telecommunications business- sounds scary just to think about it.
    anonymous