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TERRiA Off and Running
21 May 2008

TERRiA, a consortium of eight major infrastructure based telecommunications companies, which will bid to provide Australia's new National Broadband Network (NBN), was launched today.

Its Chairman, the Hon. Mr Michael Egan, said "TERRiA is now the unifying name for our consortium. Its mission is to provide an independent and competitive communication network for the nation."

The new identity, derived from Terra Australis, is in keeping with the consortium's objective of providing coverage to 98 per cent of the population across Australia.

Mr Egan said "We also like the fact that it's phonetically the same as terrier which hints at the energy and tenacity which will be needed to win the best communication outcome.

"In a word it sums up both our determination and the scale of the National Broadband Network with the commitment of coverage across the land," Mr Egan said.

Mr Egan said the $8-$10billion National Broadband Network was a visionary, nation building project.

"It's also a great opportunity for some long overdue micro-economic reform to help drive the nation's productivity and economic efficiency."

Mr Egan said fair and open access to monopoly infrastructure was a key plank of Australia's National Competition Policy.

"I've got no doubt that if national competition reform had preceded, rather than followed, the telecommunications 'reforms' of the early 1990's, the structure of Australia's telecommunications industry would now be completely different and would be delivering better services at lower prices.

"The mistake in the early 1990's was in leaving in place a structure where new telecommunications entrants were left largely at the mercy of the market dominant Telstra.

"Telstra remains the dominant player. It continues to own the core network and has a commercial incentive to frustrate natural competition through control of bottle neck assets.

"Australia can't afford the same mistake being made again which is what will happen if Telstra is allowed to roll out another national network without separating its anti-competitive commercial interests.

"This time we need a genuinely level playing field that allows open competition among all companies using the common monopoly infrastructure.

"That will only happen if there is a structure that is pro-competition. A structure where one provider cannot exercise its dominance in multiple markets to inflate prices and restrict customer access to new, innovative services."

TERRiA Proposes Structural Separation Model

Mr Egan said all of the companies in the TERRiA consortium were committed to structural separation.

"Over the next few weeks, TERRiA will finalise a competitive broadband model where the vested interests of individual companies are structurally separated to protect the consumer.

"This model will include details of board membership, management, operations, accountability and ultimate ownership.

"TERRiA's member companies have a proven history of rolling out new-age networks that have brought faster speeds and lower cost broadband to Australians.

"TERRiA's NBN model is designed to ensure that the new network is properly structured from the start, providing an equal, accessible and affordable platform for all users.

"Telstra's past behaviour, and its recent comments prove that it is unwilling to do the same.

"Telstra is adamantly opposed to structural separation, is demanding a return 'north of 18%' and is openly hostile to the umpire," he said.

About TERRiA
TERRiA is a consortium of eight major infrastructure based telecommunications companies which will bid to provide Australia's new National Broadband Network (NBN). It includes AAPT, iinet, Internode, Optus, Macquarie Telecom, Primus, SOUL and TransACT.

Media contact:
Melissa Favero
Optus Corporate Affairs
+61 2 8082 7850