Telstra: NBN Today, (Libs) Plan B Tomorrow?
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Today Labor, tomorrow Libs? Telstra say they are ready for a change of guard in the Federal government, if say, Tony Abbott slips into Julia Gillard’s shoes any time soon.


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Telstra boss David Thodey says his telco was unfazed by a change in government and thus possible abandonment of the $36 billion National Broadband Network project, or alteration of broadband policy, he told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane yesterday, reports AFR. 

The breakup of Telstra’s retail and wholesale arms also recently received the go ahead as part of Labor’s NBN policy framework, which will see the telco receiving $11 billion payoff from NBN Co for its pits, ducs and copper network.

“Should there be a change – be it technological or political – we think we’ve got enough safeguards there,” Thodey said. “I’m very confident we have enough protection in our contracts to realise the value we’re talking about.”

Thodey also dampened expectations surrounding the opportunities a high speed fibre network will bring, saying Labor’s epectations are “inspired” but may not materialise to the extent it hopes.

“I would say a large percentage of big business actually don’t deliver what we expect them to.So in that context, when we speak about the NBN, you know a $40-50 billion investment, that I think is quite actually inspired, in terms of what the government is trying to do,” he told the Queensland Media Club.

“It is not going to be about the roll-out of fibre to 93 per cent of homes which will be the issue. It is what the hell we do with it,” he added.

Mr Thodey is also ” not yet convinced that there is enough focus on the innovation and the different ecosystems that we need to put around that, even from educating people about how to use it.”

Telstra has previously aired their NBN alternative plan which include a mix: “some fibre to the premises in some circumstances; we would use fibre to the node in some circumstances; and we would continue broadband over copper in some circumstances,” former CFO John Stanhope said last year.

The telco would “provide high-speed broadband in a different way. We would have a least-cost, blended technology approach.”

The Liberal Party has made no secret of its disdain for the costly $36bn fibre broadband network the Labour government proposed during the Kevin ’07 campaign.

 

Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Communications shadow minister, is one of the most vociferous opponent of the NBN project and has proposed a mix of wireless, fixed line services as a less costly NBN alternative, previously declaring Telstra was in a ”prime position” to build a considerable fibre network of its own.

Since by 2013 if Labor are booted out of power, the NBN will be partly built, Turnbull is proposing a sell off of fibre back to telcos.