Telstra (ASX: TLS) is staying mum over calls by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Graeme Samuel, for the telco to be structurally separated.
In a speech to the Australian Telecommunications User Group Regional Conference, praising the national broadband network (NBN) as being momentous, the ACCC chairman slammed Telstra’s continuing ownership of both its retail operations and the copper network.
“The NBN will spark a new wave of infrastructure investment, technological change and product innovation…this is a far cry from the current market structure, where the incumbent Telstra is vertically and horizontally integrated into telecommunications,” Samuel said.
Samuel’s speech is the latest attack on the telco and follows the ACCC’s April ruling that Telstra was overcharging for access to its last mile copper network in metropolitan areas.
Despite the outspoken criticism, Telstra has refused to bite. A spokesperson for Telstra refused to comment when contacted by ARN.
However, other industry observers expressed support for the ACCC chairman’s comments. Charles Sturt University researcher and rural ICT analyst, Peter Adams, agreed with Samuel’s calls for Telstra retail division to be separated from its wholesale division, especially if it’s selected to build the NBN.
“The people who build the network are going to make their money from the physical build. The people that are going to manage the network are going to manage it with equal pricing no matter who you are and then companies are going to compete based on their services,” Adams said.
“That’s why we’ve been having this argument, which has gone around in circles for close to ten years, about structurally separating the wholesale provider and it’s always been around Telstra because of their monopoly position.”