Telstra takes its time on NBN Co negotiations

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Telstra takes its time on NBN Co negotiations

Not feeling the pressure.

Telstra has warned it could be months before it was ready to put any proposed deal with NBN Co to shareholders.

At its half-year results announcement in Sydney today, chief executive David Thodey remained largely tight-lipped on the telco’s ongoing negotiations with NBN Co.

But when pressed, Thodey said Telstra would not be rushed into making a decision.

“If it takes another month or six months, I’ll take the extra time,” Thodey said.

“We’re not going to be driven into making a short-term decision. We could miss one little thing [in the negotiations] that will have an enormous impact on the business.

“There is a large amount of detail and we need to be very considered about every aspect. You could do a transaction at the top level that ends up costing the company a lot of money.”

Thodey said he thought it would be “months before we put [a deal] to shareholders.”

While he believed the NBN issue was “a distraction at the high level”, he did not believe that was grounds to expedite any deal with NBN Co.

Telstra chief financial officer John Stanhope also touched briefly on the impact of the NBN on PSTN revenues, which declined significantly in the first half of 2010.

"There is likey to be accelerated depreciation of the copper network due to the NBN," he said.

But he said that as the NBN could take up to eight years to build, there was still value in the copper network.

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