Telstra’s ADSL2+ roll out welcomed by Liberals, no credit to Labor

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Telstra’s ADSL2+ roll out welcomed by Liberals, no credit to Labor

Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Bruce Billson has welcomed Telstra's belated decision to switch on and make available a higher-speed broadband network.

However, Senator Billson said Labor’s “claims of some specific new action or decision by the Rudd Government that 'unlocks' the higher-speed ADSL2+ network is simply self-serving nonsense”.

“The Rudd Government needs this spin to look like it is doing something while Minister Conroy finds his way through his broadband muddle and Telstra needs an excuse for needlessly denying access to higher-speed broadband to 2.4 million consumers,” he said.

“Beyond the spin value to the Rudd Government and Telstra, and the belated service option for broadband users, this 'announcement' deserves to be filed in the broadband bulldust bin along with much of the preposterous posturing that has dominated broadband debate in recent years.”

According to Senator Billson, the facts reveal that there is nothing about the regulatory regime that has changed and the 'letter of comfort' mirrors repeated assurances provided by the former Minister and ACCC prior to the election.

“Following the ACCC's Fixed Line Review, the ACCC and the Liberal Party agreed that there was no compelling case to include ADSL2+ in the declared service category accompanied by the pricing and regulatory constraints Telstra feared,” he said.

“Given the repeated reassurances from the previous Government and consistent public statements by ACCC Graeme Samuel, Telstra CEO, Sol Trujillo, accurately characterises the claimed impediments to the ADSL2+ roll-out as 'artificial'.”

The fact that there was no compelling case to 'declare' the ADSL2+ service was a settled issue between Telstra, the ACCC and the former Government. Prior to the election, Telstra held out on acting on this settled and repeated reaffirmed view until other pricing and regulatory issues concerning its fibre-to-the-node plans were resolved to Telstra's satisfaction, said Billson.

“Senator Conroy should come clean on what was really 'the deal' that gave rise to Telstra's decision.

Telstra activated its ADSL2+ network in late 2006 but chose to limit the availability of the faster speeds over its copper-wire network to areas where telco competitors offered faster speed services. In areas where no competitors were offering higher-speed services, Telstra simply choose to adopt a position not to activate ADSL2+ capacity for consumers,” he said.

Expanded availability of ADSL2+ is a welcome albeit belated move by Telstra - but claims that it follows a removal of a 'regulatory impasse' engineered by Telstra and the Rudd Government is simply a 'kumbaya' concoction, claims Billson.
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