AAPT has not yet had any discussions with the Federal Government about a possible role in the $43 billion National Broadband Network, its CEO Paul Broad said this week.
Paul Broad(Credit: AAPT)
"We haven't had discussions with them yet," Broad told
ZDNet.com.au, "we're hoping to have discussions with them
AAPT is Australia's third largest carrier and owns a substantial amount of fibre around the nation. The number one and two carriers, Telstra and Optus, have already been talking to
the government about their involvement.
Telstra was given a second lease of life with the broadband announcement as the government expressly said that it was allowed
to become involved in the project. It acted quickly, with chairman
Donald McGauchie and CFO John Stanhope flying to Canberra to meet with the
The telco has created a
special committee including the pair to
negotiate with the Federal Government. The group hasn't included
outgoing Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo, on the grounds that negotiations
would likely continue after he has gone.
Optus was lavish in its
praise of the government's plan when it was announced.
AAPT, on the other hand didn't have only positive things to say about
the new idea. Paul Broad said on Lateline Business that he didn't believe the network
could make a return by offering prices similar to those currently
available. He believed prices would need to be around $200 a month for end users.
He called for the government not to duplicate existing
infrastructure in metro areas, instead focusing on the regional
AAPT wouldn't want a stake, he said, although it would happily
participate and also put customers on it. "I would say that we
wouldn't be investing any more dollars in it just as we withdrew
from the NBN proposal in the first place," he said.
According to Broad, the plan leaned on the side of extravagance. "I'm in the
view that I've never found the economics to work to
fibre-to-the-home. Just the economics never stack up. And I spent
too much of my life trying to get governments to stop making
irrational decisions about taxpayers' money," he told Lateline Business.
Telstra would not comment on what its discussions with the government had entailed. Optus' Krishnapillai
said that the government had spoken to the carrier on the NBN as well as other issues.
He said the company was working out its next steps and that some idea of how to proceed could
be hammered out in the next few weeks.