Network vendor Alcatel has scorned a
proposal floated by Telstra's major competitors that would see
the nation's broadband infrastructure cooperatively
Several weeks ago Optus, Macquarie Telecom, PowerTel, Primus, Internode, Soul and TransACT outlined a proposal where they and potentially others would collectively fund a new
national fibre-optic broadband network that all telcos could
But while the proposal has since gained the interest of others
such as iiNet and Telecom New Zealand, Alcatel is continuing to
back the single telco build model currently being
discussed between Telstra and the nation's competition
Telstra's model would see Alcatel supply the telco with
potentially billions of dollars of equipment.
"It would be one hell of a job," Alcatel's global president
and chief operating officer Mike Quigley said of the rival
proposal during a lunch hosted by consultant KPMG today.
"Networks are already exceedingly complex ... services are too
interwoven," he continued.
"To think that we could do this, fast, with a consortium of
companies ... it would be awfully difficult," he said. "It's not
the way I've seen it done anywhere in the world."
Among the audience were representatives from
the Department of Communications Information Technology and the
Arts (DCITA) as well as the Labor party, carriers, vendors
and user groups.
Quigley encouraged the government to regulate the
telecommunications industry with a "light touch", saying
increased regulatory intervention in the sector worried him.
"Nobody's saying that they need to have investment certainty
-- it's a risky business," he said.
"But networks won't be built without regulatory certainty," he
added, citing examples from the United States.
The Alcatel executive said it was "not simple and
straightforward" to separate telcos' wholesale and retail arms,
as the government was currently doing with Telstra.
Such a model had yet to be proven, he said, and it was likely
that smaller telcos would not invest in infrastructure as long as
they could buy wholesale services from a larger telco.
The group of seven telcos behind
the rival fibre proposal are, however, still pushing ahead with plans to put a
detailed case to the government and the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission. Financial advisors have reportedly been appointed to assist with the proposal.