Optus mulls fibre-to-the-home product

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Optus mulls fibre-to-the-home product

Preparing for possible Coalition government.

Optus will consider offering fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband plans under a potential Coalition national broadband network.

Optus chief Kevin Russell told the ABC’s Inside Business that paying for fibre to be delivered the last mile from the node to the home, then on-selling it to customers under a broadband plan was one of the multiple options the telco was “bouncing around”.

Russell said for now, however, Optus was focused on its existing HFC business.

“If there are changes in terms of government policy, which feels very possible, then we'll get clarity on those changes and revisit our strategy if necessary at that time,” he said.

Optus remained concerned about the "stronger than ever" competitive position of Telstra, Russell said.

“I believe the NBN in terms of broader footprint is an opportunity for Optus … the big ‘but’ is what happens in the competitive landscape if there is a change of government.”

Russell, who stepped into the role of Consumer Australia CEO in March, said he had received approval from Optus parent company SingTel to spend more money on the Optus network, and was planning on reducing both its marketing budget and retail footprint.

“We are reducing our marketing budget this year because to me, trying to shout loudly and spend your marketing dollars when your core service needs to get better doesn't make sense.”

SingTel is currently undertaking a review of the Optus Satellite business.

Russell said the industry as a whole was struggling with data.

“The take-up of smartphones (and) of data traffic has caused issues in network, but it has also caused issues in billing.

“Customers' almost fear of using data has become a real problem which we haven’t proactively addressed relative to European operators or global operators.”

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