New Zealand Telecom’s Australian subsidiary, AAPT, is in merger talks with Sydney-based broadband network operator PowerTel, writes Aussie newspaper The Age. The paper added that Kiwi telco was negotiating to buy a stake in PowerTel in order to deflect a possible takeover bid from SingTel Optus. PowerTel has the second largest fixed line broadband network in Australia, after Telstra, and provides wholesale data, fixed line voice and internet services. Telecom already has an agreement with the takeover target, under which AAPT offers its business and residential customers a range of high speed broadband services. The combination of PowerTel’s broadband infrastructure and AAPT’s retail business would challenge the position of second placed Optus. If AAPT were successful in getting a blocking stake in PowerTel, it would at least guarantee it a seat at the table if Optus made a takeover bid.