Telstra CEO refuses to confirm fibre bid

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo told reporters today he could not confirm whether the telco will bid to build Australia's fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network, as the relationship between the telco and government continues to deteriorate.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo told reporters today he could not confirm whether the telco will bid to build Australia's fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network, as the relationship between the telco and government continues to deteriorate.

Trujillo made his comments at the release of the company's annual results, which showed the telco's net profit rising by some three percent year-on-year.

Questioned on whether the company would put forward a bid, Trujillo said: "I can't answer that yes or no, I haven't seen it [the draft guidelines] yet -- I've been a little bit busy running the company."

The expert taskforce in charge of picking who will build Australia's urban high speed broadband network, likely to use fibre to the node technology, released a set of draft guidelines for the scheme earlier this week.

While Telstra has previously expressed its interest in participating in the tender process, previous discussions with the government over the network have resulted in a fractious relationship between the two and suggestions from Telstra it would pull out of bidding for the project altogether.

Trujillo went on to criticise the government and regulators over what it sees as favouritism directed towards its competitors.

"The results have been achieved in the business despite competitors enjoying very favourable access prices. ... our competitors get extreme help from the regulator," the Telstra head said, adding: "Given this unlevel playing field, we will continue to compete hard and win and we will advocate for our shareholders."

According to Trujillo, the relationship between government and telcos has worsened over the last 10 years.

"Here in Australia, if you look at the last 10 years environment has been most negative environment anywhere in the world and the most backward looking, not only in last year or two but in a period of time ... We are not standing up and supporting [the government] -- they are bad for our shareholders."

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