Coalition stuck with $11bn Telstra-NBN contract value

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Coalition stuck with $11bn Telstra-NBN contract value

Telstra won't renegotiate contract.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has latched onto comments by Telstra overnight where the carrier ruled out renegotiating its $11 billion deal with the Government if it meant accepting less money.

Telstra chief David Thodey told The Australian a future change of government would have no effect on the value of the $11 billion deal, even if the rollout method and technology is renegotiated.

Thodey said he was willing to consider the form the rollout may take but said the deal would not change in terms of the value provided to shareholders. 

"We have a contract with the government and we know what value we need to participate. And that's really the end of the story," Thodey told The Australian

"If there is a different way to make up that value, we are happy to talk about it."

The $11 billion deal gives NBN Co access to Telstra's passive infrastructure, such as pits and ducts.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said last week his party would honour Government contracts should it be elected. He reportedly welcomed Thodey's comments.

The Coalition has repeatedly said it would deliver a fast broadband network at less cost than the NBN.

However, Conroy criticised the Opposition over how it would deliver on that promise if it could not renegotiate the value of the Telstra deal.

"Essentially Telstra is saying we expect to get the same value,” Conroy said.

"Malcolm can sprinkle pixie dust around and say, 'I’m going to deliver a renegotiation with Telstra'.

"I invite him to sit down, and he may be able to renegotiate, but they’re still going to get the same value. And Australia is going to get a second rate network that has to be upgraded in the future."

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