Optus CEO, Paul O’Sullivan, has called on all sides of politics to unite against Telstra and speed up construction of a National Broadband Network.
In his keynote address to a committee for economic development of Australia (CEDA) event, Leveraging the National Broadband Network, the CEO noted the recently elected leader of the Federal Liberal party, Tony Abbott, and made light of his dress sense.
“He’s a man I share a common passion with for swimming and water sports,” he said. “His surprising exposure via the media in recent days led my staff to give me earnest counsel about appropriate attire today. I was told that swimmers and towel would simply not do.”
But O’Sullivan had a message for the Liberal Party when it came to arch-rival Telstra’s separation. He said Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy’s, drive to split the telco was a “key piece of legislation”.
“It was meant to be passed before Christmas, but got caught up in the politics and delay surrounding the ETS,” O"Sullivan said. “Those who consider the delay to the first Bill a good thing or mistakenly believe that the reform is unnecessary are ignoring the key reasons why it must be passed.”
“We must see the telco reform legislation passed in February. This is the only way to break Telstra’s stranglehold on the market and improve competition immediately.”
The call is contrary to Liberal Party policy, which advocates more negotiation with Telstra, rather than a legislative split.
O’Sullivan also wants all sides of politics to unite over the construction of the Government’s National Broadband Network.
“We must get on with the job of building an NBN that is truly a wholesale-only, open access network with equivalent price and terms for all retail access seekers and with no one retail telephone company controlling the network,” he said.
“It’s time to stop what has become a four-year debate on an NBN for Australia – and time everybody moves on... Australia's future depends on it. Your future depends on it."
A Coalition-dominated senate committee recently called for more checks and delays on the NBN’s progress as well as a possible change in direction if an implementation study label’s the Governement’s goals as “unrealistic, not practical or uneconomical”.