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Optus calls for co-investment in NBN
24 Jun 2008

Paul O'Sullivan, Optus Chief Executive said:

"The recent outbursts from Telstra Executives, reflect those of a monopolist under threat and are designed to divert attention away from the real debate facing Australia.

"The real debate is around the best way to deliver competitive, accessible, fairly priced, high-speed broadband to as many Australians as possible. Affordable broadband is a matter of national significance and yet Telstra is fixated on trying to convince anyone who'll listen that that the only way Australia will get a high speed broadband network is on a "my way or the highway" basis from Telstra. At the heart of it, Telstra simply wants to re-monopolise fixed networks.

"Optus and Terria have said time and time again that we are ready, willing and able to deliver a national broadband network. We are willing to co-invest with parties across the industry - including Telstra - to get the network built. Optus invests one billion dollars a year into Australia and is willing to make a financial commitment to build the network.

"Optus continues to invest where the settings are 'pro-competitive'. We continue to call for appropriate regulatory settings to create a level playing field and ensure competition in broadband. As we have said before, structural separation is the key ingredient to ensure sustainable competition and innovation in high speed broadband.

"The words 'structural separation' really seem to have the monopolist rattled - but if Telstra will not accept structural separation then there are other bidders who will.

"Optus and Terria are happy to grant access to the network that we build. We are comfortable with the principle that the new national network should not be majority owned or controlled by any one retail telco. If Telstra is to build the network, it must accept the same principle.

"A level playing field for broadband is in the interests of all Australians. The choice is whether we allow Telstra to continue to fatten its margins or to build it with a 'reasonable rate of return' on behalf of all Australians and in the interests of the entire Australian economy - not just Telstra.

"So today I ask Donald McGauchie and the Telstra executive - what are you afraid of? A good, healthy dose of competition? Why not co-invest with Optus and Terria in providing competition, fairly priced high speed broadband to as many Australians as possible."

Media contact:
Melissa Favero
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850