ACCC calls on Telstra to come clean on broadband plans

No secret deals

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Graeme Samuel, has called on Telstra to come clean with its broadband plans.

"At vast expense to its shareholders, Telstra has been running a campaign against policies that seek to ensure world-class telecommunications services at a fair price to consumers and with a reasonable return to shareholders," Samuel told the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry last night.

"Instead of putting its plan before all Australians - so it can be considered calmly and coolly - Telstra seeks to whip up public anxiety about self-manufactured obstacles in its path.

"If it is good enough for its competitors to put their broadband plan to an impartial adjudicator, it should be good enough for Telstra."

Samuel said all parties agree on one point, that is high speed broadband is of intense interest and importance to all Australians.

He said the future of Australian telecommunications cannot be decided behind closed doors, bypassing scrutiny and through secret deals.

"The G9, after presenting a draft proposal to the ACCC for comment, has indicated that it will shortly provide its plan for public scrutiny. It's time for Telstra to do the same. "What is Telstra seeking to hide? A monopoly designed to beggar the competition?

"The law requires that decisions as important as the future of broadband supply in Australia be made in an open transparent way."

Samuel said the ACCC has three criteria which it will apply without fear or favour and these are to promote investment and competition, and to protect customers from monopoly prices.

"Telstra needs to start talking now," he added.

Telstra was unavailable for comment last night.

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Sandra Rossi

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