Telstra has thrown support behind the Federal Opposition’s plans to return broadband policy leadership to elected representatives, taking it away from the unelected regulator.
Yesterday the Opposition made it clear that if elected into office, a Rudd Government would do whatever necessary to ensure the country has a competitive broadband infrastructure.
This would include removing regulatory barriers to investment in a national FTTN network, the ALP claims.
Regulated access to a FTTN network would be set at a level that recovers costs and ensures a commercial return on invested capital, the Opposition believes.
Telstra’s group managing director of public policy and communication, Phil Burgess, has spoken out in support of this move.
“Telstra agrees with (the ALP’s) underlying premise that broadbanding Australia is a key to jobs, productivity growth and economic and regional development,” Burgess says.
“(We are) ready to invest in a world-class FTTN network if the regulatory climate provides certainty and enables its shareholders to achieve a competitive return on their capital.”
Meanwhile, Federal Government representative Senator Helen Coonan claims that Labor’s broadband proposal is nothing new.
“Labor’s proposal will entrench its legendary neglect for rural and regional Australia by abolishing the $2 billion Communications Fund earmarked to ensure that non-metropolitan Australians can get reliable services in the future,” Senator Coonan says.
“Labor announced today that it is prepared to throw out its ideological opposition to the sale of Telstra provided they can now get their hands on the money.
“This is text book Labor and a very clear signal that if elected, the will spend the Future Fund and send Australia back into recession.”