Op­tus CEO crit­i­cal of NBN amend­ments

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

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.’’

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