Sunday, February 10, 2008

Australia - broadband

Broadband 'not used for ransom': Telstra

Telstra Corporation Ltd says the main reason it is able to now activate its high speed ADSL2+ broadband network is because of a change in government.

Telstra said last week it was able to connect the fast broadband service at more than 900 telephone exchanges serving 2.4 million consumers after new Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told it there was no compelling case for regulating third-party access to the service.

Telstra's connection of the service ends the telco's long running stoush with government over pricing and regulatory restrictions surrounding the technology.

Telstra's director of public policy Phil Burgess told Sky News Sunday Business that the main reason the network was now being connected was because of a change in government.

"Well, the main reason is an election and there are new people running the show and the people that are running the show now want to do things," Mr Burgess said.

"They see telecommunications as important to the nation's future and they see it as a key to health care, education, public safety, a lot of other things that are important.

"So what was different is this new government wants to see the nation broadbanded and that's what we want to do. We want to broadband the nation."

Mr Burgess said it was the word of the communications minister that gave the telco the confidence to begin connecting the network.

"You know, before we had the word of a regulator (the ACCC).

"Now we have the word of a minister of the crown. So having the word of a law maker, rather than the regulator is very important when you're talking about spending billions of dollars of shareholder money."

Mr Burgess denied the suggestion that it held its customers to ransom by not giving them a better service, in a bid to get its way with the government.

"No, not at all," he said.

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