NBN is do or die for telecommunications: Optus CEO

Optus CEO outlines his arguments again for the NBN and splitting Telstra

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is "do or die" for competition in fixed telecommunications in Australia according to Optus CEO, Paul O’Sullivan.

In a speech given to the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), O'Sullivan said the telco had invested almost $11 billion in infrastructure since 2000 but that a "significant" amount of his time is still spent on arguing for "the interests of Australian businesses and consumers in telecommunications".

"I'm not going to claim exclusivity for us on this - but quite frankly, the debate on the National Broadband Network is do or die for competition in fixed telecommunications," he said. "So it's not been hard to take a pro-consumer and pro-competition stance.

"But I'm concerned that so much of the debate continues to be stuck as politicians argue and Telstra capitalises on this to encourage further delay."

O’Sullivan then called for the NBN legislation to be passed immediately and continued on to lay out the reasons for his position.

First it would level the playing field and remove Telstra's "fundamental conflict of interest" in regards to giving competitors access to its network.

Second, O'Sullivan said it would let Telstra's board and management "move on" to focus on new business rather than defending its "60 per cent plus margins" in fixed-line services.

Providing incentives to other industry players to grow the broadband market was the third reason while ensuring the right parameters are set between the government and Telstra on the NBN rounded out his argument.

"It's time to stop what has become a four year debate on an NBN for Australia - and time [to] move everybody on," he said in his concluding remarks.

He also reaffirmed the company would upgrade its (HFC) cable network in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to be capable of speeds of up to 100 Mbps with a $25 million investment.

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