Telstra declines 'public battle' with Internode

Internode managing director Simon Hackett has speculated that Telstra Wholesale was giving some retail internet service providers better deals

The wholesale arm of Australia's biggest telco Telstra has declined to engage in what it described as a "public battle" with its customer Internode, in the midst of delicate negotiations that are slated to affect Internode's ADSL broadband pricing around the nation.

Late last week Internode managing director Simon Hackett again speculated that Telstra Wholesale was giving some retail internet service providers better deals because they hadn't built out their own competitive broadband infrastructure as some, like Internode, TPG and iiNet had.

A number of ISPs — such as Dodo, for example — have eschewed the widespread DSL multiplexer (DSLAM) rollouts which some like Internode have pursued over the past decade, preferring instead to use others’ wholesale infrastructure. Dodo in particular is known for its low prices in the broadband marketplace.

In response, a Telstra Wholesale spokesperson didn't deny the claim, but said it wouldn't discuss it publicly.

"Telstra Wholesale is in negotiations with many of our DSL customers. We are being flexible and commercial and doing the best we can to accommodate their requirements," they said. "We have completed a number of deals with our DSL customers and are nearing finalisation with several more, so continue to make good progress in a very competitive market."

"We are also in negotiations with Internode but we are not interested in a public battle on what is a private and confidential negotiation."

A number of other telcos -- such as Optus and iiNet -- also offer wholesale access to their ADSL infrastructure in telephone exchanges. Uptake of 3G mobile broadband services is also increasing at the moment, with some customers seeing the mobile networks as an alternative to fixed-line ADSL or HFC cable broadband.

Optus has also opened up its 3G mobile broadband network to rivals, although Telstra has not done the same with its Next G network.

"Broadband is a very competitive market and Telstra Wholesale is committed to making sure that its commercial offers are attractive to wholesale customers and competitive to the market," said the Telstra Wholesale spokesperson.

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Renai LeMay

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