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Telstra rejects Aussie gov calls for split

Stephen Conroy finds some more people to annoy

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The incumbent Australian telco Telstra is unimpressed with broadband minister Stephen Conroy's calls for reform and the possible division of the company up into retail and wholesale businesses.

Legislation aims to strengthen consumer protection by reinforcing the Universal Service Obligation and Customer Service Guarantee.

Conroy said: “It is the Government’s clear desire for Telstra to structurally separate, on a voluntary and cooperative basis."

The minister said there had been over 150 telecoms access disputes since the current regulations were established in 1997, compared to just a handful in other areas like airports and energy. Conroy said existing regulations were "cumbersome" and "open to gaming and abuse."

But Telstra said it was disappointed at aspects of the proposed laws.

David Thodey, Telstra's chief executive said: "It is Telstra's view that many aspects of this package are unnecessary and need never be implemented if a mutually acceptable outcome can be reached on the National Broadband Network [Telstra's next generation network]." The company said it was fully committed to the network.

The new laws will also mean carriers with turnover of less than A$25m (£13.03m) will be exempt from buying an annual carrier license.

Conroy's comments are here and Telstra's response is here. ®

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