Optus chief slams Telstra

17 Sep 2004

The new chief executive of Australian telco Optus has criticised the country’s former monopoly operator Telstra for ‘anti-competitive tactics’. Paul O’Sullivan, speaking at his first public engagement since moving up from COO to CEO at the start of the month, also called on the government to help provide a more level playing field in the broadband market. He says the government should adopt an ‘outcomes-based’ regulatory approach in the broadband sector, where its directives are specifically designed to achieve one outcome: increase the take-up of high speed services.

O’Sullivan unveiled a three-part plan which he says the government should adopt to ensure that Australia does not fall behind other countries in the spread of broadband access. Firstly, he says Telstra should be stopped from “playing games” with its wholesale DSL pricing and should restore its resale margins. He also wants protection for companies which are rolling out their own high speed networks. Finally, he wants to make investment in broadband services viable by linking resale economics to investments.

Telstra had 803,000 broadband customers at the end of June, up from 361,000 at the same time last year. Optus, meanwhile, had just 22,000 DSL subscribers, with another 161,000 broadband internet customers connected to its cable networks. 80% of the country’s PSTN lines are connected to DSL-enabled exchanges.