Commercial-grade voice over IP is still several years away, but Cable & Wireless Optus has IP on its road map already, said Chris Anderson, CEO C&W Optus.
Talking at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney last week, Anderson said IP (Internet protocol) is the future of C&W Optus.
"IP is a more efficient, flexible, powerful and dynamic means of transmitting information for both voice and data," he said.
"The experts tell me [to give VoIP] a couple of years for commercial applications [to develop] . . . but the actual explosion of data is happening as we speak," Anderson said.
Echoing sentiments of other telecommunications providers, Anderson said the future is not about telephony alone.
"It is data -- vital customers' information, intellectual property, and the resources of the Web -- that the new, reinvented telecommunications industry will be all about," he said.
In relation to the current wholesale interconnection dispute under review by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Anderson said C&W Optus would welcome a decision from the commission and would pass on any reductions in call rates to consumers.
The ACCC is expected to make a draft ruling reducing interconnect rates for competitors soon.
Anderson said he expects the ACCC to come up with figure of around 2.2c a minute, a significant reduction on the current rate of 4c a minute.
However, C&W Optus thinks a more accurate figure is 1.2c a minute, he said.
C&W Optus is locked into a deal with Telstra over rates until March 2000, he said.
"We are happy with the terms of the deal, but we always think [rates] are too high and they can be brought down," Anderson said.
"If we got a better deal, we'd pass it on to our consumers."