Optus CEO critical of NBN amendments
T HE h e a d o f Aus - tralia’s number two telco says proposed l e g i s l a t i v e a m e n d - ments f o r nat i o nal b r o a d b a nd net work will not create the des i r e d l e v e l p l a y i ng field for all industry players.
O p t u s c h i e f e x e c u t i v e P a u l O’Sullivan says he is ‘‘ very concerned’’ with the 23 pages of amendments that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy tabled in the Senate.
‘‘ We and many in the industry have spend quite a bit of time recently working through the consultation process to provide feedback on the draft bills and the bill that is now before parliament,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said yesterday. ‘‘ To be frank these new amendments have thrown us a curve ball.’’
The amendments covered the role of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and the ability of commercial telcos to lay their own broadband cables.
Also, the changes concerned the ability of NBN Co, the governmentfunded body slated to build the $ 36 billion network, to sell services directly to businesses and therefore bypass telco providers such as Optus and others. Senate sitting hours have been extended and could spill over into today as the government pushes to get the legislation passed.
Mr O’Sullivan said Optus was in negotiations with the government on the proposed changes, but had no comment on what Optus would do if they were passed by parliament. ‘‘ It’s hard to screw up the NBN. Getting the competition settings wrong is a good way to screw it up, but actually the technology itself is good.’’