Alternative operators propose joint venture NGN alternative

21 Apr 2006

Seven of Australia’s largest alternative telcos are formulating a plan to upgrade the country’s PSTN with fibre-optic technology as an alternative to the next generation network (NGN) strategy of fixed line incumbent Telstra. In a groundbreaking move, Optus, Primus, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, PowerTel, Soul and TransACT are all calling for collective investment in an open access NGN which Macquarie CEO David Tudehope claims ‘will deliver high-speed broadband services to more Australians, more quickly than if the network was a Telstra monopoly’. The as-yet unfinished plan is expected to cost around AUD3 billion (USD2.2 billion) and will be submitted to the Federal Government and the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC). Telstra’s roll out of next generation services has been much delayed as the incumbent argues with the ACCC over how rivals will access the new network. The seven companies hope their proposals will be welcomed by Telstra and that the incumbent will back the plan instead of building out its NGN alone. However, a Telstra spokesperson has already dismissed the idea. Telstra’s Liz Jurman told ABC News there is nothing about the plan that interests them. ‘Together these companies are bigger than Telstra so they could easily build their own fibre network,’ she said. ‘This plan is like pitching a tent on top of a skyscraper then demanding rent from all the tenants.’

Australia, Telstra (incl. Belong)