Its not all sunshine in Qld as the state’s dispute with Telstra gets nasty.
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|Telstra tower Warwick QLD. Image: Flickr|
Telstra’s landmark tower in Canberra.And its all over rent – with Telstra suing the state over sky high rents.
But isn’t land cheaper in the good ol’ sunshine state? Apparently not.
Telstra leases around 500 sites in urban and remote locations from the Queensland government, which house telecom equipment supporting fixed line/ wireless services, via its Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).
Rent on these sites is set by the Land Regulation 2009, which commenced on 1 July 2010, but the price which the QLD Environment Dept now charges telco carriers for land used for sites is “significantly higher than rent charged to other Crown land users for other comparable sites,” a Telstra spokesperson told SmartHouse.
This is because the new 2009 regs use one methodology to calculate the rent for telco sites and another for other comparable sites.
“Telstra believes that this is discriminatory towards telcos, and consequently is prohibited by clause 44 of Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997,” the spokesperson added.
The telco is now seeking a ruling from the Federal Court on whether the current regulation is discriminatory or not, in a case filed on April 3rd last.
A spokesperson for newly elected Liberal Premier in Queensland, Campbell Newman, confirmed the government had been informed of Telstra’s legal action and ”would like to see this matter resolved quickly, in the interests of Queensland taxpayers” report Fairfax Media.
The telco has been in discussion with DERM for over two years about the high rents, however has been been unable to reach agreement.
Many of the sites asociated in the dispute are used to provide basic telecommunications services to regional and remote Queensland communities, the spokesperson added.
It is not clear if any other telco’s operating in Qld are looking to take legal action similar to Telstra. Optus could not be contacted for comment at the time of writing.