Telstra tells Rudd: We need high-speed broadband

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Telstra tells Rudd: We need high-speed broadband

Telstra has told PM Rudd that high-speed broadband must be the first cab off the rank. But on whose terms?

Telstra's group managing director of Public Policy and Communications David Quilty claimed the National Broadband Network (NBN) was crucial for Australia's future economic productivity and it must be fast-tracked or the nation risks falling behind at a critical economic juncture.

According to Quilty, high-speed broadband is the great enabling technology, a fact personally recognised by Rudd in making his strong commitment to the NBN.

"Unlike other infrastructure projects which are focused on a particular location or industry sector, the project will benefit all Australians and will unleash the nation's untapped spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he claimed.

He claimed it has been trying to build the NBN for more than three years, but has been stymied at every turn by backward-looking regulation, red-tape and bureaucracy.

However independent telco analyst Paul Budde claims Telstra only wants an NBN built on its own terms.

"It wants an NBN that will net it the right return on investment," said Budde.

"However the government is saying it has to be right for the country and far more affordable than the price regulated by the telco giant."

According to Budde, Telstra has not genuinely sat around to discuss with the government about the national interest of the NBN, or put forth its interest in the network.

However the telco analyst understands the frustration Telstra feels at having no decision made on the NBN.

"The previous government and the current government are too chicken to make a decision," claimed Budde.

"It has taken years for them to sort it out and there is no guarantee about what decision is made about the NBN well into 2009."

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