Australia $897m worse off under Telstra national broadband network: report

Telstra hits back hard at report claiming economy, consumers will suffer under Telstra FttN

Executive director of the Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC), David Forman, said the report supports the industry's greatest concerns - that if Telstra is allowed to provide a monopoly high-speed broadband service it will have a significant negative impact on Australian consumers and the economy.

"At a time when interest rates are increasing, food costs are on the rise and petrol prices are at an all time high, this is a simple proposal to strip money from Australian families to satisfy the greed of Telstra's insatiable monopoly demands."

As a nation we cannot afford to let Telstra recreate another monopoly

David Forman - CCC

If the network cost were $9.3 billion, the additional revenue that Telstra would need to obtain each year is $897 million. This is similar to having a telecommunications private tax, the report said.

Forman labeled the extra costs to consumers a "Telstra Tax" and said the nation cannot afford to let Telstra recreate another monopoly.

"Telstra has for three years offered only small glimpses of what it was demanding from successive federal governments and has refused to reveal publicly the full detail of its plan to build a fibre to the node network. It is clear that it has something to hide. This analysis shows why Telstra has not gone public," he said.

Telstra is interested in getting on the business of designing a 21st century broadband network for Australia rather than spending money on fanciful reports and media stunts, McKenzie said.

"For three years Telstra has tried to build a high-speed broadband network for Australia, for three years these people have tried to stop us. How can these guys know what our prices will be when we are still doing the calculations? Why don't they come clean on their own prices?"

"This project is too important to be bogged down by these sorts of stunts and distractions. Do they think Australia's broadband future is a joke? We take it very seriously indeed and we are getting on with the job of designing a network," she said.

The Tell the Truth Telstra (T4) initiative, which includes ISPs such as AAPT, Adam Internet, iiNet, Internode, Optus, Primus, Unwired and others, is hosting an industry event in Canberra today that will present live to Senator Conroy's panel of experts that will determine the regulation of the NBN.

The CIE report can be viewed online here

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld

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