AAPT chief executive Paul Broad today called for fellow telcos to stand up and "make noises" to protect competition in the new world order of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
AAPT CEO Paul Broad (Credit: Marina Freri/Delimiter)
Broad said at the Commsday Summit in Sydney today that the current telecommunications legislation, chunks of which were approved just days ago, was all about preventing competition — recreating a monopoly situation which the industry has fought to dismantle over the last 20 years.
He said that competition at the infrastructure level is fundamental to the telco market. "My concern about today's debate about infrastructure is we spent a lot of time in the last few weeks building up legislation to prevent competition," he said. Then, referring to the uniform national wholesale price to be used by the NBN: "How can we offer a competitive product when we all face the same wholesale price?"
Broad said the industry should look back at past experiences to avoid future mistakes. He said that in the mid 1990s, the company he worked for, Energy Australia, tried to use energy infrastructure to drive a retail competitive outcome.
Yet the final result didn't deliver, according to Broad. "We thought at that time we could actually build a multi-utility concept using energy infrastructure … that part failed," he said. According to Broad, in the mid 1990s nobody predicted that competition could be at an infrastructure level.
"Sometime we forget we have made a few mistakes in the past which might help think about the future," he said.
For these reasons Broad called on the industry players to stand against the current NBN legislation.
"We industry should certainly have an argument about the fact we have all taken a pretty big journey in the last 20 years," he said. "We all have investors and invested capital in our business."