Labor calls for broadband inquiry

The Federal Opposition has taken steps to initiate a broadband inquiry to examine current levels of competition, pricing and customer takeup.

Concerned about the state of broadband competition in Australia, IT opposition spokeswoman Senator Kate Lundy accused Telstra of dictating services and disrupting competition.

Lundy said Labor has called for this inquiry because the roll-out of broadband to Australia is crucial "to our social and economic development". The opposition has proposed, with the assistance of the Democrats, that the Senate Environment, Communications Information Technology and the Arts References Committee inquire into the state of Broadband Competition in Australia.

Specifically, the Committee should inquire into the following issues the current and prospective levels of competition in broadband services, including interconnection and pricing in both the wholesale and retail markets; any impediments to competition and to uptake of broadband technology; and the implications of communications technology convergence on competition in broadband and other emerging markets.

In a joint statement as members of the Competitive Carriers’ Coalition (CCC), network providers Comindico, Primus Telecommunications, Macquarie Corporate, Hutchison Telecommunications and PowerTel voiced their support for the inquiry.

"This new inquiry offers an important opportunity to examine fundamental flaws in telecommunications competition in Australia including the anti-competitive structure of Telstra. We would urge the Government to support the terms of reference,” the CCC stated.