Senate debates

Thursday, 24 March 2011

National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010; Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures — Access Arrangements) Bill 2011

In Committee

5:54 pm

Photo of Ian MacdonaldIan Macdonald (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia) Share this | Hansard source

As I understand it, Optus have not worried about that, Telstra have not worried about that and the other big telcos have not worried about that to date, but they are now worried and have been for some time that NBN Co. might actually be effectively operating in the retail market by selling its layer 2 services on in a retail sort of way. That is why they are concerned. Senator Conroy, you will no doubt—as you have in the past—get up and have a tirade against your old mates Telstra, who weren’t your old mates for a while, then they were back as your new mates and then they weren’t. I am not quite sure where you are at the moment in your relationship with Telstra, although if you believe what you read in the popular press Telstra are getting a bit tired of you. They have already put back their extraordinary general meeting from 1 July till sometime in September or October. With the amendments you dropped on the table yesterday, I suspect they are going to be even less enthused about taking something to their shareholders. If NBN Co. are going to be in a position where they can compete with Telstra, what is in it for Telstra? That realisation is coming out. That is why I think it is important to look at the amendment we have moved, which provides that:

        (1)    An NBN corporation must not supply an eligible service to another person unless:

             (a)    the other person is a carrier or a service provider; and

             (b)    the eligible service is supplied on the basis that the other person, or a member of that person’s immediate circle, must:

                   (i)    re-supply the eligible service; or

                  (ii)    use the eligible service to supply a carriage service or content service to the public.

The amendment we have moved goes on to define and clarify some of the terminology used and to define how you can determine whether a service is supplied to the public. You determine that if:

             (a)    it is used for the carriage of communications between 2 end-users, each of which is outside the immediate circle of the supplier of the service; or

             (b)    it is used for point-to-multipoint services to end-users, at least one of which is outside the immediate circle of the supplier of the service.

As I understand these amendments, they would address the concerns that we have had and they would address the concerns that the Greens have had. I have not heard Senator Xenophon on this point. I guess this issue would be of concern to him but, more importantly, of concern to—

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