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Telstra counter-ACCC campaign starts
Posted on 21-Feb-2007 16:34 by Juha. | Tags Filed under: News.

Telstra counter-ACCC campaign starts
Telstra of Australia is going for the jugular with a new campaign against the country's telco regulator, Graeme Samuel of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, ACCC.

Samuel and Telstra have been at loggerheads on regulatory issues such as the pricing of Line Sharing Services with the incumbent taking the ACCC to the Australian High Court in January this year.

The Back Telstra campaign was launched by the company's Group Managing Director of public policy and communications, Dr Phil Burgess. Through the campaign, Telstra seeks to drive home the point that Australia badly needs more infrastructure for better and faster broadband, as it is crucial for the country's future economic development. Burgess terms the present situation as "Australia's Broadband Drought" and decries the country being only at 17th place out of 30 developed countries in the world, being towards the bottom of the charts together with Spain, Italy, Portugal and New Zealand (22nd place).

However, Telstra is refusing to invest any more money in broadband in general and ADSL2+ unless it can have regulatory certainty that competitors will not have access to its network. Burgess accuses the ACCC of hindering Telstra's investment, saying that regulated access prices have fallen while the incumbent's costs have risen. The Australian government has had A$70 billion in receipts from the sale of the Telstra tranches, Burgess says, but claims none of this has been ploughed back into broadband infrastructure.

Burgess also laid into Telstra's competitors such as Singtel, which owns Optus. Saying Telstra's competitors "cherry pick" in populated areas, leaving the incumbent to supply costlier rural customers, Burgess says the only time an Optus truck is seen in rural Australia is when it's either lost or stolen.

ACCC favours foreign-owned companies seeking a free ride on Telstra's network, Burgess says, and singled out Singtel as being a monopoly player in its own backyard in Singapore.

Telstra featured share holder representatives and other people outside the company as backing the campaign to protect the telco from competition.

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