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Competition key to Australia’s broadband future: Google

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Global online giants Google and Skype have warned that tough regulations are required to ensure consumers and business have affordable access to the planned national broadband network.

Global online giants Google and Skype have warned that tough regulations are required to ensure consumers and business have affordable access to the planned national broadband network.

The internet companies argue the company chosen to provide the fibre-to-the-node network must not be allowed to become a market bully in submissions to the Government released yesterday.

The front-runner for the tender to provide the network, Telstra, has argued it should not be forced to separate its retail and wholesale functions as a condition of receiving the $4.7 billion on offer.

But, although it doesn’t name Telstra, Google is highly critical of this position, arguing that “some form of strong and independently enforced functional separation, or structural separation, is necessary”.

Skype uses even stronger language to back this position, arguing that the current broadband access market is not fully competitive.

“Unless counterbalanced by government policy and regulation, the main network operator would be free to leverage the market power derived from control of the network to limit competition,” Skype says.

Google also cautions the Government that attention should be given to the pipes connecting Australia to the rest of the world if we are to enjoy the full benefits of faster broadband.

“Australia could end up with a superhighway to the node, but if we only have a few expensive roads with high tolls connecting Australia with the rest of the world, Australian users won’t be traversing the world wide web at the promised superhighway speeds at reasonable prices,” Google says.

And care must be taken in the roll out of the network, Google says, in order to avoid a temporary slow down in broadband speeds.

“It is essential that existing ADSL 2+ and similar competitive copper wire based broadband services continue to co-exist with the NBN, at least during a defined transition period,” Google says.

 

Read more on broadband, Google and Skype

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