Shadow Communication Minster condemn NBN Co $800M sweetheart deal with Optus as “”thoroughly unconvincing and contradictory”
In a speech made to Parliament yesterday, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull said the draft decision by the competition watchdog, the ACCC, to approve the $800m deal between National Broadband Network Co and Optus, where the latter will decommission its hybrid coaxial network (HFC) and move 400,000 broadband customers over to the NBN, as “a thoroughly unconvincing and contradictory document.”
Read: NBN-Optus $800M Deal Green Light
In fact, Turnbull reckons the ACCC is playing silly beggars with the NBN Co (and Optus), and will reverse the decision to allow Australia’s telco No. 2 to shift to the high speed fibre network, which it said delivered “clear and quantifiable” public benefits Tuesday last.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the Optus-NBN Co HFC Agreement removes a “potentially significant” fixed line competitor to the NBN, it admitted Tuesday, but conceded Optus was unlikely to invest further in faster broadband services for its customers.
NBN Co and Telstra signed a similar deal earlier this year, worth $11 bn in total.
Optus’ existing HFC network would only provide a “close substitute” to the NBN for customers seeking low speed broadband, ACCC Chairman Richard Sims also noted.
“So unconvincing is the draft determination that one shrewd observer of the NBN saga suggested to me that it was a draft determination designed to be reversed following the period of public consultation,” Turnbull, Liberal MP East Sydney told Parliament.
Turnbull, a long time sworn enemy of Labor’s $36 bn (which actually costs far more if Turnbull is to be believed) NBN project, labelled it as “anti-competitive,” arguing there will be zero broadband competition in an NBN world, when this isn’t quite the case – all telco’s and several newbies will still be selling rival broadband services albeit from one fast network.
“In the socialist paradise of Julia Gillard’s Australia the government is building a massive new fixed line telecommunications monopoly and, just in case there would be any competition with it, the government is paying Telstra and Optus to decommission their HFC networks as well as paying Telstra to decommission its copper network.”
And the Shadow Comms Minister also reckons Optus and other telcos should maintain the HFC network over a high speed fibre network, despite the ACCC findings to the contrary.
“The truth is that everywhere in the world HFC cable networks are providing very high-speed broadband and real, effective, commercial competition with fibre-to-the-premises networks, fibre-to-the-node networks and various variations on those two.”
He also condemned the recent $3.6 million advertising spend by NBN Co as “quite heroic.”