G9 welcomes Senator Conroy’s ‘Expert Panel’

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The G9 consortium has welcomed the announcement of an Senator Conroy's broadband Panel and its accompanying assessment process as part of the Federal Government’s plans for a National Broadband Network.

The G9 – a consortium of competitive telecommunications companies including AAPT, Internode, iiNet, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, Primus, Soul and TransACT – said it was supportive of the Government’s process to determine the successful bidder to build, own and operate an open access competitive national broadband network.

Michael Malone, CEO of iiNet said it welcomed the roadmap laid out by the Government yesterday.

“We are strongly committed to participating in a competitive assessment process for a national broadband network that will provide all Australians with continuing choice for their communications,” he said.

In light of the government announcement, the G9 will submit a revised version of the Special Access Undertaking (SAU) it lodged last year.

David Tudehope, chief executive of Macquarie Telecom said the G9 developed a comprehensive plan for the roll out of a competitive national high speed broadband network for Australia nine months ago when it lodged an SAU with the ACCC.

“That plan has been publicly available for months and it dovetails nicely into what the Government is announcing,” he said.

The G9’s new SAU will take account of the ACCC’s constructive December 2007 feedback on the first version of our SAU, Michael Simmons of SOUL said.

“The essence of the original SAU will remain, with our commitment to low access prices and fair access terms underpinned by strict structural separation between the ownership and usage of the network,” Simmons claimed.

According to Dianne O’Hara of TransACT ,the G9 is encouraged to see Government acknowledging key issues raised by the G9.

“In particular we are pleased that the Government has confirmed the need for competitive open access arrangements since competition will be the key to delivering the most innovative services at the lowest possible prices to all Australians. We are particularly pleased to see confirmation of a strong role for the ACCC,” she said.

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