Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull is confident his relationship with Telstra will help the Coalition cut a deal for the copper access required for a future fibre-to-the-node network.
Speaking to the ABC's Inside Business program yesterday, Turnbull said he knew Telstra could elect to play hardball in any negotiation, but believed it wasn't in the telco's interests to do so.
"I know that it is in their best interest to support the approach we're taking," Turnbull said.
"Uncertainty, disagreement, tension with government has never been good for Telstra shareholders."
Turnbull did not respond directly to a suggestion by the program's host Alan Kohler that Telstra had the Coalition "over a barrel" to fulfill the FTTN commitment.
"I've done a lot of deals with Telstra over the years and they know me very well; I know them very well," Turnbull said.
He was confident that existing deals between the government and Telstra could be extended to cover last-mile copper access.
"I am very confident that we'll achieve speedily the slight rearrangement to the agreements that we're talking about," he said.
Turnbull was also confident of the support of regional Liberals and the National Party for the Coalition's broadband policy, on the basis that he did not foresee any large price differential between city and regional internet users.