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The regular slanging match between Telstra and Optus concerning the National Broadband Network has hit a new fever pitch, with Optus CEO Paul O’Sullivan threatening to end fixed line and Interne investment in Australia if Telstra scores the NBN contract; and Telstra responding with a scathing denunciation of supposed Optus deficiencies.

O’Sullivan told a business breakfast meeting: “Optus and SingTel stand ready to make very large and strong investments in fixed, mirroring what we’ve done in mobile, if the incentives are right.”

“But let me be really clear … if the Government simply does a cosy deal with Telstra, and fixed line competition suffers in the process, then we will look for more attractive places to put our capital. So, no doubt, will many other potential investors.”

Telstra mouthpiece David Quilty rushed out a media release claiming the remarks revealed O’Sullivan to be “the true bully of Australian telecommunications”, and that in fact SingTel Optus stopped seriously investing in Australia years ago.

He claimed Optus had: ceased upgrading its HFC network; turned its 3G network into “a laughing stock, beset by drop-outs and broadband speeds that are often no better than dial-up”; and stopped investing in fixed services in regional Australia.

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