Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan, wants to see responsibility for Telstra’s copper network separated from the rest of its business.
He said the $8.4 billion Telstra is forecast to receive from taxpayers through the NBN in the next five years will give the No. 1 telco an unfair advantage over its rivals.
“Clearly Telstra is going to have a pretty rich and steady flow of cash coming its way,” O’Sullivan said in a speech in Sydney. “And in fairness, it is going to have a commercial incentive to use that cash . they are going to want to use that money to bolster their market position, to cross-subsidise and indeed to entrench their position.”
He predicted the sum paid to Telstra could actually increase under the Abbott Government’s fibre-to-the-node plans, which continue to utilise Telstra’s copper network.
“We need to break up Telstra,” he said. “If Telstra is going to have a key role to play in the NBN – because we are now dependent on their copper in order to get from the node to the home – then there is a huge conflict of interest, if they are owning and operating that network.”
O’Sullivan said about 70 percent of the profits generated by Australia’s telecommunications industry currently go to Telstra, and the additional money from the NBN would allow it to lift its market share further and stifle competition.