Labor ready to make love not war with Telstra

ALP communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy has said that if a Labor government is elected, it will mean a fresh start in the relationship between the government and Australia's telcos.

ALP communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy told ZDNet Australia that if Labor wins the election, it will mean a fresh start in the relationship between the government and Australia's telcos.

"I have a good relationship with all the players, I meet regularly with Telstra and regularly with Optus," he said, adding that he will "start on a fresh foot" with the telecoms companies.

Conroy's comments come in light of a worsening relationship between Coalition Communications Minister Helen Coonan and Telstra in recent months, culminating in a court case between the Minister and the telco earlier this year.

Nevertheless, Coonan told ZDNet Australia that the relationship between herself and Telstra is good, saying of a recent Australian Broadband Guarantee funding deed between the government and the telco: "I think it's a very positive sign they are a participant in that."

Borrowing from Telstra's Phil Burgess, Conroy told ZDNet Australia there are two approaches to dealing with the incumbent: "You either love Telstra or you fight Telstra".

Conroy has already promised to be tougher on the telco if elected and said he will pursue a "more robust approach" to operational separation.

While the ALP may pursue a different tactic on operational separation to the current government, Conroy said a Labor administration would let the Coalition-approved OPEL WiMax network stand.

"We will respect the contract, we will honour the contract," he told ZDNet Australia.

"It's up to OPEL what they're going to do about the fibre network that will run by their door."

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