T4 says broadband debate crucial

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T4 says broadband debate crucial

SYDNEY - Australian-based industry group, Tell the Truth (T4) has announced its support for the Government’s expert panel on high speed fibre-to-the-node broadband.

However it has called for a review of all broadband options – not just those from the two leading parties.

The Government last week enlisted an expert panel of independent members to review the broadband debate, over which Telstra and a consortium lead by Optus called G9 have been focused on by the media.

Both Telstra and the G9 have proposed commercial infrastructures which, according to telecommunications expert, Paul Budde could cost up to $5 billion.

However T4 believes the independent panel should review all options – not just Telstra and G9.

In a statement to the media a T4 spokesperson said, “The panel has the opportunity to review the best option for Australia’s future. This should not just be a debate on the merits of two rival proposals.”

According to T4 the panel should consider the role of all technologies including wireless to determine the best option.

“This is a unique opportunity to ensure that Australia has the best technology possible and the right infrastructure to support the immediate and future needs,” a media spokesperson said.

The group also called Telstra’s broadband proposition a “quick fix option”, and warned the panel against “caving into Telstra’s demand”.

“Telstra has pressured the Government to rush through a decision on FTTN [fibre-to-the-node]. It used the premise of its budgeting schedule to try and push a result – and undermine the competition,” said the spokesperson.

Telstra has claimed that it won’t require any Government funding to roll-out the infrastructure, said Budde.

“Not a lot of investment is needed from the Government – if you’re a good infrastructure-builder you don’t need Government money,” he told ITNews. “Telstra doesn’t need the money – it already has its own network.”

According to Macquarie Telecom national executive - regulatory & government, Matt Healey, there are various other parties interested in providing high speed broadband infrastructure to Australian residents, including a major Australian bank.

“It might be appropriate to have a patchwork of services and not just a single infrastructure,” said Healey. “There are different technology choices that should be considered, that run the whole gamut from wireless to fibre-to-the-node. Assessing the entire range of possibilities, gives the community much greater opportunity.”

T4 is an initiative of telecommunications carriers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including AAPT, Adam Internet, Austar, iiNet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, Powertel, Primus Telecom, Telarus, TransACT, WestNet and Unwired.

The campaign was launched in April 2007, to counter Telstra’s campaign of “misinformation on telecommunications and broadband competition and regulation in Australia,” according to the group.
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