Telstra bucks Labor broadband plan

Telstra has wasted no time in firing a shot across the bows of the new Labor Government, announcing that it will not participate in a joint venture to build a national broadband network.

Labor’s broadband policy states that it will spend $4.7 billion to build a fibre-to-the-node broadband network through a partnership with the private sector.

But just hours after new Broadband and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was sworn in, Telstra director of regulatory affairs Phil Burgess was quickly back into his old role of lobbing bombs at government policy.

“We’re not going to do consortiums, or equity or things like that. It’s not the way we do things,” Burgess told an industry conference. “It won’t be with us, it will be with someone else.”

Burgess reaffirmed that Telstra is interested in building a very fast broadband network, but said the company had made it clear that it was not interested into entering partnership-type structures.

“We’re not going to do it if the Government is going to be an equity holder and decision maker,” Burgess said.

Both Telstra and the G9 coalition of its competitors have already begun talks with Labor on how it will select a partner for the construction of its promised national broadband network.

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