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stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Apr 15 19:05:22 AEST 2009

No price hike for fast broadband

Phillip Coorey, Chief Political Correspondent, April 15, 2009

Consumers would pay about the same for the Government's proposed new 
super-fast broadband service as they do now for a much inferior product, 
the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said.

Opposition claims that people would have to pay up to $200 a month for 
broadband if the proposed service were to be viable were based on the 
flawed assumption that the Government-owned company would be the 
retailer, Senator Conroy said

"We will be a wholesale company, not a retailer," he told the Herald. 

"The national broadband network will be a general access wholesale 

Internet providers would sell the service to homes and businesses 
and "for the same price you pay now, you'll get faster packages", Senator 
Conroy said.

The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, insisted yesterday that the 
project - forecast to cost up to $43 billion over eight years - would not 
make money unless subscribers paid up to $150 or $200 a month.

He said this estimate was based on an assumption that about 4.5 million 
people, or half the market at present, signed up for the fibre-to-home 

Senator Conroy said estimates should not be based on current usage 
patterns because the network would change everything.

Optus backed his view, saying it would lead to a range of new services, a 
sharp spike in internet use and greater competition because it would 
neutralise the dominance of Telstra.

A spokesman for Optus, Maha Krishnapillai, said internet subscriptions 
and services offered had increased sharply in other countries after the 
introduction of very fast broadband.

Optus, AAPT and Nextgen have expressed their interest in selling assets 
into the new network in return for a stake in the majority Government-
owned company that will build and operate it.

The Herald has learnt that a group of Telstra executives - which does not 
include the outgoing chief executive, Sol Trujillo - will go to Canberra 
this week to talk to the Government about its involvement. Telstra has 
made no decision on whether to sell its assets in return for a stake.



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