Primus Demands Declaration on High Speed Broadband

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Primus announced that it will seek a declaration of Telstra's ADSL2+ service from the ACCC.

That is misleading on the part of Telstra. The Government provided no such guarantee, and why should it. It has no formal role in the matter.

Primus Telecom has written to the ACCC seeking declaration of Telstra ADSL2+ service. This comes in response to Telstra's announcement today that it will soon deploy DSL equipment in more than 900 telephone exchanges serving 2.4 million consumers across Australia. ADSL2+ enables telecommunications companies to offer customers high speed broadband services.

Ravi Bhatia, CEO of Primus said today "Primus has been one of the leading providers of broadband and ADSL2+ services in Australia for many years, and we are pleased to see Telstra finally come out of the closet."

"Primus wants to continue to invest in and expand its own highly successful high speed broadband internet offerings across the country. That approach is our first choice but Telstra has denied us access to many key exchanges. In many cases Primus and other competitors have been queuing more than 8 months to get into exchanges to deploy broadband equipment. You can be assured that Telstra will jump these queues to install its own DSL equipment in whatever exchanges it so chooses." said Mr Bhatia. "Telstra should be required to offer ADSL2+ as a wholesale product in those exchange areas where competitors have been denied access to install their own broadband network."

Telstra's proposal opens up a huge opportunity for competition in broadband Australia. "Declaration of the high speed broadband service would be good news for competition and great news for those broadband users that do not currently receive competing high speed broadband deals" said Mr Bhatia.

Declaration of the ADSL2+ service by the ACCC would essentially mandate that Telstra must permit other telecommunications companies to provide the service to its customers. "Declaration can only be a good outcome for consumers" said Mr Bhatia, who advised he had legal advice supporting a decision by the ACCC to declare the service.    

This comes in the wake of Telstra also claiming today that the Government had decided against declaring the ADSL2+ service. However Mr Bhatia stated, "That is misleading on the part of Telstra. The Government provided no such guarantee, and why should it. It has no formal role in the matter."

It is understood the Government had earlier expressed a view that it wasn't necessary to regulate ADSL2+ services at this time, but Mr Bhatia advised, "That view was based on a critical misunderstanding."

"Telstra has denied competitors access to exchanges across Australia, and ISPs need access to those exchanges to deploy their own networks. This conduct by Telstra has stymied the development of facilities based competition, and the Government was not aware of this." said Mr Bhatia.

Primus will be writing to Senator Conroy to correct this misunderstanding. The ACCC has previously issued two competition notices regarding Telstra's anticompetitive supply of ADSL services.

About Primus Telecom
Primus Telecom is one of Australia's largest fixed-line telecommunications carriers. The Company offers a comprehensive range of home phone services, data, Internet and web hosting products, servicing both residential and business sectors. The Primus network offers nationwide coverage through its own backbone network with facilities across Australia. The network enables the Company to provide high speed broadband, and voice and data services. Primus operates its own fibre network in the five major capital cities, delivering a range of business direct-connect services including ISDN, frame relay, ATM, telephone line and broadband DSL, as well as telephone line and broadband DSL services direct to residential customers.


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