G9’s cheap broadband promise

The Optus-led G9 consortium of telecommunications companies would be able to offer cheaper phone and internet services than Telstra if its bid for the Government’s $4.7 billion in broadband funding is successful, Optus chief executive Paul O’Sullivan has said.

In a newspaper interview published on the weekend, O’Sullivan said a fibre-to-the-node network built by a Government/G9 joint venture would be able to offer very fast 24mbps broadband for $50 per month, and basic telephony for $15 per month.

This compares favourably with the $85 per month Telstra has indicated it would charge for very fast broadband services if it built and controlled a fibre-to-the-node broadband network.

O’Sullivan was forthright in his description of Telstra’s behaviour, describing recent comments by senior Telstra figures that they wouldn’t entertain a joint venture with government to build a broadband network as a “greedy bid to maintain its monopoly profits”.

Despite perceptions that Telstra went easy on Labor in opposition, it has mounted a strong public relations campaign against its joint venture plans since Labor took office last week.

But Labor has shown little sign of shifting so far. Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner told the ABC on the weekend that “it is up to Telstra how it approaches this issue”.

“We are certainly not going to turn around and change what we propose to do, in the broad sense, simply because one of the key players says they don’t like something about it,” Tanner said.

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