Telstra rejects Optus call for breakup

Debate has already been had, says Telstra

Telstra has slapped back a call by the Optus chairman to break up the top telco in Australia.

“We remain committed to structural separation and a new future for our industry where competition, investment and innovation can flourish free from endless unproductive debates over regulation,” Jane van Beelen, Telstra executive director of regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

Earlier today, Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan said Telstra’s copper network should be separated from the rest of its business.

"We need to break up Telstra," he said.

Telstra has agreed to structural separation of its wholesale and retail arms as part of a deal with the government and NBN Co.

O’Sullivan said there is a conflict of interest in using Telstra copper for the National Broadband Plan and that government has been under pressure to provide incentives to Telstra to keep the NBN on track.

However, van Beelan said the Optus chairman was providing a distraction from the NBN’s mission.

“At this moment, when government and industry are looking to the future and how to deliver the NBN quickly and efficiently, the newly appointed Chairman of Singtel Optus has sought to halt progress so he can restart a regulatory debate,” she said.

“These debates have already been had in Parliament, at industry events, in the media and through numerous Government reviews. Mr O’Sullivan may have missed them when he was in Singapore, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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