Primus launch sparks regulatory debate

Primus launch sparks regulatory debate

Primus has taken the first step towards becoming its own independent service provider, rolling out DSL equipment across the country.

The move has given weight to Telstra arguments against Optus, which has claimed it needs regulatory assistance to compete against the national carrier.

Primus will rollout its own high-capacity DSL equipment (DSLAMS) into 300 Telstra exchanges, enabling the telco to offer voice and broadband over Primus infrastructure and hardware.

The ISP claims moving customers over to its own hardware will provide enhanced and more diverse service options and increased customer support. It estimates the new investment in infrastructure will see it able to reach half the Australian population.

"Over a number of years we have invested in excess of $300 million to build our own extensive broadband, data and voice network around Australia," Primus managing director, Greg Wilson, said. "As such, in 10 years, Primus Telecom has evolved into an independent facilities-based provider of bundled local, long distance, broadband and data services."

In addition to offering fixed-line telephony, the new infrastructure will accommodate the latest broadband technologies including VoIP, video-on-demand, and ADSL2+.

Telstra has used the news as a counter argument against Optus' claims that it needs regulatory assistance in order to compete adequately against it.

Earlier this month, Optus CEO, Paul O'Sullivan, hit out at the Telstra's monopoly of the telco industry and called on authorities to bring in tighter regulation.

"The law says that if you own a so-called bottleneck facility - such as the telecommunications network owned by Telstra - then you must provide access so your competitors can use it," he said.

Telstra spokesperson, Rod Bruem, said Primus had proven competitors had the means to launch services independently without the aid of an industry watchdog.

"This underlines how SingTel was more than presumptuous in its call for a special subsidy from Telstra - to do what Primus is already doing, without any call for government help as far as I'm aware," he said.

An Optus spokesperson reiterated it would like to see a level playing field for all providers.

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