Tuesday, 18 September 2012

NBN: Coalition Policy, still fluid?

In an interview with the Financial Review in late August, Mr Turnbull is quoted saying something I found astonishing and because of the policy consequences, under-reported.

He said the structural separation of Telstra had been expedient for the government but he would have preferred a demerger of its local network business, akin to Telecom New Zealand’s, to encourage the necessary competition for his plan.
There is an earlier (Nov, 2010) mention in the Age of Mr Turnbull preferring a demerger, as well as being mentioned in the hansard in questions on the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network. Mr Turnbull holds up the demerger of New Zealand Telecom in preparation for their National broadband network as the example of how it should be done...

Whilst Mr Turnbull's site contains many mentions of "Structural Separation", I could find none to "demerger".

Why I find this astonishing is because up until the end of 2006 and the "T3" float by the Coalition Government (Howard/Coonan), a demerger could've been completed easily. But it seemed that the Coalition policy then was firmly against both a common-access national broadband network and any type of structural separation of Telstra.

To my untutored eye, this seems a major back-flip and against the Coalition tenets of "Free Markets" and "Competition".

What do others think?...

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