Despite the strong words used against government amendments to key National Broadband Network legislation last week, Optus has now welcomed the passage of the legislation through the Senate.
Last week the government introduced a number of controversial last-minute amendments to the National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendments (National Broadband Network Measures — Access Arrangements) Bill 2011. The government said at the time that the amendments were introduced after long discussion with industry; however, Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan said the amendments had "thrown a curveball" for the company.
One cause of concern was the amendment that would have given NBN Co the power to veto decisions on points of interconnect made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This was defeated by an additional amendment moved by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam prior to the passage of the Bills through the Senate late on Friday night. After these additional amendments and reassurances from the government, Optus director of government and corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai said the telco was now pleased with the Bills.
"We are now comfortable that they will provide a sufficient governance framework for NBN Co," he said. "The ACCC will play a crucial role in providing the necessary checks and balances to ensure NBN doesn't take advantage of its monopoly position."
Krishnapillai threw the company's support behind the government's attempts to ensure the Bill's passage through the House of Representatives today.
"With these amendments now in place, Optus believes that it is important that the Bills pass the House of Representatives without further delay to ensure the NBN has a tight governance framework in which it will operate," he said.