Conroy inadvertently leaks Telstra's network value

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Conroy inadvertently leaks Telstra's network value

Tables confidential details of core network.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has admitted he inadvertently tabled part of a confidential report that revealed the competition watchdog's valuation of Telstra's core network.

"The ACCC document containing commercially sensitive information was tabled by mistake and the Government regrets the error," the Communications Minister's spokesman told iTnews today.

"The value of network assets is a subject of talks with Telstra and we have already indicated that we will not be discussing or giving a running commentary on those discussions".

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report revealed it valued Telstra's core network assets at anywhere between $7.9 and $17.6 billion when depreciation of the assets was factored in.

Valuations using a Telstra model put the cost of building the network from scratch at $33.03 billion - or $27 billion if "less ducts and pipes are used on an optimal network than on the current network".

iTnews obtained part of the report which purportedly showed the ACCC's valuation of the Telstra assets. Below is an image representation of how those assets were displayed in the report.

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the telco industry already had some idea of what the figures were.

"We knew on the upper end it was something like $17 billion and on the lower end is was something like $7 billion," Budde claimed.

"You can make whatever calculation you make of the copper network ... but the future is fibre and we're going to move to fibre and the costs of fibre are many times lower from an infrastructure point of view and maintenance point of view than copper".

Budde labelled the release of the data as "embarrassing" and "stupid".

"It's embarrassing that the Government didn't look after the information properly which they should have done," he said.

"It's stupid, just stupid. It should not have happened."

Opposition Communications Minister Nick Minchin slammed Senator Conroy claiming the valuation data jeopardised negotiations.

"This is just the latest episode in a two year long saga of incompetence from this Minister," Minchin said.

"This information goes to the heart of confidential negotiations and Senator Conroy has released terms of those negotiations in the public arena further jeopardising this entire process".

The report was tabled after Minchin successfully blocked any further NBN bills from being debated until the NBN expert panel report and accompanying ACCC report were released.

A further 16 pages were released from the 893-page NBN expert panel report, whilst a "secret letter" remained to be tabled.

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