Telstra: Regulatory uncertainty is costing us

Changing the regulatory framework of the telecommunications industry is needed quickly says Telstra which claims the regulatory uncertainty is costing it the deployment of its next-generation networks, while at the same time providing a leg up for its competitors.

Speaking at a competition summit organized by the Service Providers Association, (SPAN), of which Telstra is a member, Telstra's general manager of regulatory affairs, Tony Warren said that while the telecommunications industry has changed rapidly since deregulation, the regulation of the industry has not.

Telstra, he said, was pushing for changes to the regulatory process because it was being unfairly treated under current regulations.

As an example, he cited the disparity in Australia's CBDs where fibre, which is supplied by a number of carriers, rather than the Telstra-owned ULL (unbundled local loop), dominates the landscape. "If the telco regime has some kind of discipline those areas won't be regulated."

Regulation needs to be modified so that it does not "choke off" investment, he said. Additionally, regulation should apply to legacy networks rather than new services.

A bone of contention for Telstra is the fact that in most capital cities an alternative to the ULL, in the form of Optus' HFC network already exists. Sydney and Melbourne, for example both have more than 80 percent penetration of Telstra-alternative networks to the home.

However, Telstra is still forced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to charge low prices for competitors to access its copper wires.

"In the CBD and metropolitan areas there is a real alternative supply... which is winning customers in the marketplace.

"Pretending that it is not [competitive] and needs a high regulatory environment is not justified," Warren said.

Optus' corporate and regulatory affairs director, Paul Fletcher, said Telstra was doing its bit to kill competition.

Raising the fixed line cost of the ULL was one measure.

He also said Telstra's intention to deploy Fibre to The Node (FTTN) is part of its attempt to discourage investment in the ULL, whose copper lines need constant maintenance.

Fletcher said Optus believes in increasing bandwidth options to customers, but that the ULL should be protected. "There is still life in it."

According to Warren, Telstra needs to invest in FTTN because only 40 percent of residents in cities live within 1.5Kms of an exchange, thus precluding them from access to very high speed DSL broadband. The closer residents are to exchanges, the easier access to speed of 10Mbs and above becomes. According to Telstra, the only other way to get the remaining 60 percent is to use fibre.

However, due to "regulatory uncertainty", Telstra has been forced, Warren claims, to put a hold on its plans to roll out its FTTN broadband network. For Dennis Muscat, CEO of Pacific Internet, the discussion about connection is not the key issue. "It's the service [VoIP, mobility, video-on-demand and the like] that hang off this which is key. Most of which are not realized today."

To achieve this, he said service providers like Pacific Internet needed fair access to the network, fair pricing, and a fair amount of time to help build themselves up so a "quasi monopoly (of Telstra and Optus) does not manifest itself".

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Howard Dahdah

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?