Deal rectifies Telstra privatisation mistake: Greens


This afternoon’s announcement of an $11 billion deal between Telstra and NBN Co may help to rectify the Government’s mistake in privatising Australia’s telecommunications monopoly infrastructure, the Australian Greens said today.

This afternoon Telstra revealed it had signed a preliminary $11 billion deal with NBN Co that would see the telco migrate its telephone and broadband customers onto the fibre National Broadband Network, with its copper (ADSL) network to be shut down and no more broadband services to be provided over its HFC cable network.

The nation’s number two telco Optus has “cautiously” welcomed the deal but called for further regulatory reform, while the Opposition has slammed NBN Co’s $11 billion deal with Telstra, describing it as Labor’s “desperate” attempt to progress its National Broadband Network policy “by throwing billions of dollars of taxpayers’ cash at it”, and adding that it would cancel the deal if elected.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam noted what he said was the irony of Australian taxpayers spending billions of dollars to buy back “a network that should never have been privatised”.

“It may be that this is a significant step along the way to undoing some of the damage that was done when we privatised the national telecommunications carrier,” he said.

In general, Ludlam said his party was encouraged by the announcement as the lack of an agreement between Telstra and NBN Co would have led to a “an expensive and protracted conflict” between the big T and the federal Government which would, in turn, have led to wasteful duplication of resources.

“We won’t now have two wholesale networks competing in a space which most people recognise is a natural monopoly,” he said.

Like Optus, Ludlam encouraged the Government to bring its telecommunications sector reform legislation back to Federal Parliament so it could be debated. He added that the Greens would also carefully scrutinise the final details of the Telstra deal — which still has to meet the approval of the ACCC, Telstra’s shareholders and the Government.

Image credit: Delimiter


  1. Well this is definitely a step in the right direction. Providing the regulatory reform Optus is pushing for goes through and the NBN does indeed end up being open access to all carriers, it will definitely make for an interesting playing field in the years to come.

    • I am just hoping that the switchover process from copper to fibre is well-rehearsed by the time it comes around to my house and office premises. I don’t want to be left for weeks without broadband (or even months) while Conroy + Co debate the matter in a committee.

      Of course, it will be nice to have fibre eventually :)

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