The chief executives of a number of leading Australian telecommunications companies and internet service providers today reunited to call for a pro-competitive approach to upgrading Australia’s national broadband infrastructure.
This industry collective recognises that the impact decisions taken today about the NBN will have a long-lasting effect on the prospect for future broadband innovation and competition. Uniting to push for a genuinely open and competitive broadband and communications industry, the companies involved said they had been spurred to action by the amount of misinformation currently being reported about the National Broadband Network (NBN).
On 7 April this year the Rudd Government announced the establishment of a company to build and operate a new super fast National Broadband Network. The Government has since commenced an implementation study to determine the operating arrangements and detailed network design and on 25 July this year appointed Mr Mike Quigley as the Executive Chairman of NBN Co.
Reviving the name initially adopted by a group of competitive telcos formed in 2006 to support a proposal for a competitive broadband network, the TERRiA Access Seekers Association (TASA) has been established to represent the interests of access seekers in ensuring that competition and innovation considerations underlie any decisions taken in connection with the NBN.
Netspace Managing Director,Stuart Marburg said, “The Government has announced the construction of the NBN, but there is a lot of detail that needs to be worked through. Decisions taken today about the NBN and the structure of our industry must be properly informed. The level of debate so far demonstrates a degree of misunderstanding about the NBN.”
Founding Chairman of TASA, Ravi Bhatia, CEO of Primus Telecom, said, “The group of access seekers had been in regular discussion for some time now and had recognised there was a need to get more involved in the NBN process. The collective experience of this group lends naturally to shaping the decisions concerning the NBN, be it technology, regulatory or operational considerations.”
iiNet CEO, Mr Michael Malone said,”Our interest is in maximising competition, so that all participants in the industry get a fair go and are on a level playing field. We have an obligation to future generations of Australians to ensure the NBN delivers on its competitive potential.”
Optus Chief Executive, Paul O’Sullivan said “Optus welcomes the formation of the TERRiA Access Seekers Association as a collective voice safe guarding competition and ensuring Australia has a competitive market structure as we transition to the National Broadband Network.”
The Rudd Government is expected to publish its views on the amendments to the current regulatory regime this week, which aim to improve competition, with the amendments also designed to ensure the regime works more effectively during the rollout of the NBN.
Internode Managing Director, Mr Simon Hackett said: "TASA will offer a provider-neutral forum for legitimate access seekers to discuss and define how its members believe that the necessary technical access mechanisms, service definitions, pricing principles, and business interfaces should work together to ensure the success of the NBN. The association will be welcoming participation from access seekers intending to use the NBN, and will operate in a way that ensures the interests of consumers, rather than the interests of individual service providers, ultimately comes first".
Ravi Bhatia, CEO of Primus Telecom concluded: “We’ve established this access seekers group to inform and engage with the Government, NBN Co and other stake holders. The companies currently involved in TASA include iiNet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, Primus Telecom, Netspace and Optus, however we will be extending an invitation to other access seekers to join the organisation that share our goal of an open and competitive NBN. I expect we will be making further announcements on membership and TASA events shortly.”