By Kate Kellogg, The Washington TimesRead more"We're looking at a situation where a large part of the market is still not paying for internet service and they're looking to take advantage of a situation that we think could help a lot of people in rural areas," said Steve Kestler, an analyst with Forrester Research, who tracks wireless broadband."It's a bit like the cellphone market in the 1990s, w...
Telstra has faced criticism over its controversial NBN project, with one expert saying it was not an NBN to compete with its rivals.
Telstra CEO David Thodey spoke out on Monday to defend his company’s controversial plan to build a fibre optic network to cover 90 per cent of the nation’s premises by 2020.
Mr Thodeys comments follow a report that the Federal Government was considering whether to force Telstra to hand over the network’s network infrastructure to the NBN Co. NBN Co, which will run the fibre optic cables, will use the money it gets from the Telstra deal to upgrade the network.
The Government wants to spend $50 billion to upgrade Telstra networks and Telstra is a major player in the telecommunications industry.
But the Opposition said the Government’s decision would not be good for consumers or for competition.
“Telstra has been able to spend billions of dollars to improve the network and it has done so by providing a lot of jobs and millions of Australians are going to get jobs that will be part of the NBN, and there will be other jobs as well,” Labor’s telecommunications spokesman, Andrew Leigh, said.
Mr Leigh said the Coalition would have to consider whether Telstra could be bought out if it had been found to be unable to deliver a viable network, or that competition was an issue.
“It’s been a case of the government having no choice but to force the Government to sell Telstra,” he said.
“We need competition, we need innovation, we want innovation for our economy.”
He said the NBN should not be allowed to “get stuck in the mud” because it was “just not an option”.
Mr Thodes comments come amid the Turnbull Government’s latest attempts to push ahead with its plan to roll out the National Broadband Network, which it says will be cheaper and faster than Labor’s fibre optic broadband.
The Coalition is considering using a $15 billion fund to buy Telstra out, but the Opposition has not ruled out any changes to the deal that would involve Telstra.
“If we can find a way to buy it out and have it in a state of fair competition, then that’s fine,” Mr Leigh told Sky News.
“But we’ve got to have competition.
We can’t just have an auction.”
Mr Thomas comments came as Labor leader Bill Shorten said the Labor Party would fight the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the NBN rollout, despite the Coalition’s claims that the plan was the best way to build out a broadband network.
Mr Shorten has repeatedly called on the Federal government to privatise Telstra, which has struggled with falling revenues and a lack of capital to invest in its network.