Telstra has appeared before the Senate in an attempt to resist legislation that would force it to split its business in half.
In his opening address to the Senate, Telstra’s NBN engagement director, Geoff Booth, reinforced Telstra’s support of the National Broadband Network (NBN), while simultaneously opposing the proposed legislation. He claimed it had significant implications for Telstra, the industry and the NBN itself.
Expanding on a written submission made to the Senate last week, Booth claimed Telstra had been supportive of the NBN from the outset, and set-up an NBN Engagement Group, made evaluations on options for Telstra to be involved in the NBN, and been active in discussions with the Government and NBNco.
Telstra would like to find a mutually beneficial outcome for all, Booth said in his address.
The legislation, as it stands, will not achieve that, instead causing a reduction on competition, especially in the mobile and media markets, he said.
Booth also suggested the decision would harm consumers, particularly those in rural and remote Australia, provide the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with expanded powers unparalleled in any other industry, and destroy value for the 1.4 million shareholders that purchased Telstra shares from the Government over the past 12 years.
Booth also made the request that, if the Senate does indeed plan to proceed with the Bill, then it should defer the debate.
The Government’s plan to structurally separate Telstra first came to the fore in September in order to promote competition in the telecommunications industry.