They huffed and they puffed in an effort to hurt Telstra now Optus is looking for Federal Government handouts after failing to win any of their National Broadband Network battles.
In their latest move, Optus, a Singapore Government owned telecommunication carrier is looking for compensation for migrating their customers over to the National Broadband Network similar to what Telstra is being offered as part of their $11 Billion dollar package that gives the NBN Co access to Telstra ducts, copper network and Telstra customers.
Maha Krishnapillai, Optus director of government and corporate affairs, said that the Singapore Government owned carriers will ask the Rudd Government for a similar multi-billion dollar cash deal to the one it is offering Telstra for migrating its customers to the forthcoming National Broadband Network, a senior executive hinted last night.
on the ABC-TV program Lateline Business when asked if Optus would be asking for similar treatment to the $4 billion the Government is offering Telstra he said ” We’re certainly going to be discussing some of those issues with the Government, because there’s a number of networks – ours included – that will be transitioning across to a full fibre network.
“So we’ll continue to have those sorts of discussions with the Government – yes!”
The Government will pay Telstra as much as $9 billion: $5 billion for access to its pits, ducts and exchanges, and $4 billion for transitioning its customers from the copper network to the NBN, and decommissioning the copper.
Krishnapillai said Optus had “a great number of concerns” about the putative arrangements decided between NBNCo and Telstra in the heads-of-agreement announced on Sunday.
“That’s why we are so concerned to see the legislation currently before the Senate on telco reform is passed – and passed as soon as possible,” he said, adding firmly: “It must be passed”.
“It is essential that this country moves into the 21st century for broadband – essential for the entire economy,” Krishnapillai said. “But that will only happen if the safety net of that legislation is passed as soon as possible”.
With the federal Opposition firmly opposed to the NBN – and pledging to dismantle it, if it wins the coming election – getting the legislation through the Senate in the current session may be beyond the Government, however. It will need the votes of the Greens and independent senators.
Krishnapillai told Lateline Business that Optus believes the $2 billion provision to compensate Telstra for Universal Service Obligation matters – including emergency numbers and payphones – is a “reasonable” figure.
But he said Optus wanted to ensure government money for Telstra is paid into “some sort of quarantine”.
“We don’t want to end up with a situation where the funds Telstra gets are used as some sort of bounty whereby Telstra regains some sort of control of the retail broadband market,” he said.