Local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) claim Telstra’s approach to the NBN was not serious enough and say the telco brought disqualification upon itself.
This week, the Federal Government banned the telco from the bidding process, arguing its 13-page bid did not meet the requirements to include SMEs in constructing the NBN.
Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said he wasn’t surprised by the Government’s decision but was astonished it even considered it.
“One has to wonder whether Telstra really believes in the NBN at this point, or whether they feel so much time has passed that it would be obsolete before it was even fully built,” Hackett said. “They seem very focused on alleged NBN-beating 3G networks at this point.”
iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said Telstra had been against the process from the word go.
“Telstra has been very aggressive and obnoxious, but that’s their call and now they’ve disqualified themselves,” he said. “We should move on and focus on those that are bidding and what they can do for customers. We’ve got to look forward to more people having access to high quality broadband.”
However, telecommunications wholesaler and reseller, Telcoinabox, was outraged by the government’s decision to exclude Telstra. Managing director, Damian Kay, viewed the whole process as too politically driven and not focused enough on looking for the best organisation to build it.
“The issue is that you’ve arguably removed one of the leading contenders to be able to build this, To remove them for such a trivial reason makes the whole process a bit of a debacle,” he said. “It makes you wonder whether it will ever happen.
“They should just get down to it, put in proper submissions, take away the politics, so we can get moving on this and keep competition alive and well in the Australian telecommunications market, which benefits the consumer.”
Although other NBN contenders could now breath a sigh of relief, telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, said Telstra still had a role to play and added it would be ‘silly’ to throw away its national network.
“However, it will be used on the terms and conditions set by the people that are now in the driver’s seat and not by Telstra,” he said. “For the past three or four years, we’ve been going along these sorts of lines with Telstra not being very co-operative in their approach and abusing the government, regulators and the industry.”
Budde claimed Telstra had never been very serious about the NBN bidding process. Other bidders should now try to work together with the government to set policies and strategies in place.
“They have been very arrogant in saying that nobody can do it without us,” he said. “It’s a double whammy for Telstra. On one side, it’s not going to participate in building the network and, secondly, it will get enormously strong regulations that will guide the process and it will make it very difficult for Telstra to spoil the party,” he said.
“There’s enormous incentive for the government and the other players to come up with regulatory regime that actually reins Telstra in.”