Liberal communications spokesperson Bruce Billson has accused the Rudd government of having an inconsistent stance on its dealings with Telstra and its activation of the ADSL2+ network -- but one analyst claims it could all just be semantics.
Billson described Telstra's decision to switch on its ADSL2+ network over 900 exchanges across the country as "absolutely self-serving".
"Telstra has had that capability for quite some time now and they've needlessly denied consumers access to it until a competitor in the area comes along ... I'd hate to think the company's actions were solely motivated by trying to scuttle the OPEL proposal," he said.
"It was argued by them that there had been some kind of regulatory impediment stopping them from providing access to the network, but it was simply a convenient justification for having held it back."
According to a statement released late last week by Billson's office, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had "boasted" about the decisions made by Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy to persuade Telstra to provide access to the network, despite Conroy's claims he had "no role" in the decision making process.
"I think the Prime Minister got a little carried away in Parliament taking credit for things his government has not been responsible for," said Billson. "What Kevin Rudd stated in parliament is directly at odds with what Conroy said last weekend."
Billson's comments come after the telco was advised by the ACCC to switch on access to the network, foreshadowing the possibility of regulatory action.
Shara Evans, CEO of telecommunications analyst firm Market Clarity, said that Conroy's only role in the affair was the "decision" to write to Telstra referring them to the ACCC's regulatory advice.
"It appeared to me that the letter from Conroy was very much quoting other ACCC statements on the subject, which Telstra then took as a green light to proceed with rolling out ADSL2+," she said.
Evans said that Billson's assertions were most likely just an attempt to exploit a "miscommunication" between the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy.
"Clearly the whole thing has been music to Telstra's ears, it puts them back in the game when a lot this government's election promises were highly distasteful to them," said Billson.