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Joyce "hell-bent" on UFB monopoly

28 Apr 2011

Allan Freeth, CEO of TelstraClear, has fired a no holds barred statement to Communications Minister Steven Joyce (pictured) saying that he is hell-bent on building a state-funded and protected UFB monopoly with Telecom.

Freeth said that reports the Minister had rejected a compromise put forward by the Telecommunications Users Association over the government’s broadband policy belie his claim of being open to suggestions to improve UFB regulation. 

"The minister’s flippant rejection of the mechanism of special access undertaking, highly successful as a price guarantee mechanism in Australia, is testament to the fact he is hell-bent on building a state-funded and protected UFB monopoly,” Freeth said. 

"He tossed it aside without a second glance, refusing to even discuss how the stakeholders could advance the proposal to deal with his stated concerns.

"This is consistent with his lack of interest in working with me or other industry and consumer players. Repeated offers of meetings and compromise are acknowledged by his office and then ignored.”

Freeth’s attack continued: "If Mr Reynolds and his team at Telecom win the Crown fibre process to build the bulk of the UFB network and this legislation is unchanged, then I believe they will have achieved an outcome far exceeding his shareholders’ dreams: the reestablishment of the Telecom infrastructure monopoly of old. In this case, I graciously salute my competitor’s cleverness and skill at achieving such a coup.

"Specifically, in relation to the special access undertaking proposal, the Minister is again being misleading in saying price certainty won’t be achieved and it will delay the UFB build. There are ways in which a special access mechanism could be established within the government’s timeframe and would not affect its vision and would, indeed, help achieve it.

"I call upon the Minister to be honest and, if he has no intention of changing anything in relation to the regulation, he should stop misleading consumer groups and industry stakeholders and wasting our time.”