Optus: Affordability key to NBN success

Telstra will drive prices through the roof if the government does not get regulation right, claims Optus.

Sheridan dismissed Telstra's claims that it is the only prospective NBN bidder with the know-how to build the NBN, and refuted allegations that Optus' parent SingTel is touting separation here while fighting it in Singapore

"In Singapore the SingTel position is quite clear: it obviously has a strong position in its market and like Telstra over here it is interested in protecting its business and shareholders. But what SingTel actually said was that if there is public money being invested in a national network then it should be subject to separation. However, for private networks where there might be a rival national network then there isn't really a case for separation.

"If there were two national private networks in Australia there wouldn't be a case for separation. But there isn't; there is only one. And the government is proposing to put almost $5 billion of public funding into upgrading that national network, so there is a very strong case for separation."

In Optus' regulatory submission to the government it proposes a number of options for utilizing existing network infrastructure during the switch over to the new network.

"We should try and look at utilizing as efficiently as possible some of that existing infrastructure. There is no doubt that some of the customers today are receiving services that already exceed the minimum requirements set out by the government and people are happy with those services."

Optus has proposed a number of options to keep some of the legacy equipment in place, including an "outside-in" migration plan.

"You start cutting over to the FttN in the regional areas first and then come along to the metropolitan areas, there's a range of different options being looked at. We think it's important to at least maintain some of that competitive infrastructure for a period of time," Sheridan said.

He also revealed Optus wasn't entirely satisfied with the government's request for proposal for NBN bidders, stating that a lack of clarity and weighting of criteria for the new network has created uncertainty among NBN proponents.

"With an investment and an infrastructure of this nature, and with nearly $5 billion of public money going into it you want to make sure there is a transparent and open decision making process, not something that's done through back-door deals and negotiations. I think the RFP could have perhaps been a lot clearer in terms of what these specific criteria were and how they will be ranked against each other," he said.

"This will be a single national platform and its important to ensure that there is strong competition on that platform and its really the regulatory settings that will drive that."

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld

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