TelstraClear TV campaign slams 'UFB Bill'

Video of TV advert starring Neil Waka that will screen tonight

TelstraClear is launching a television campaign criticising the Telecommunications Amendment (TSO Broadband and Other Matters) Bill, which will enact the changes necessary to proceed with the government's $1.5 billion Ultra Fast Broadband network.

An advertisement (see below) starring Neil Waka is scheduled to debut at 6.20pm on TV One and TV3 this evening. The theme is that the bill, if passed, won’t create a “level playing field” and that consumers may be “hit in the pocket”.

In the advert Waka visits an empty rugby stadium and asks “Would you play a game of rugby if one side had 15 players and the other side three, and with no referee?” In the next shot he stands in the middle of a netball stadium, asking whether it's fair if one side’s hoop is significantly shorter than the other.

TelstraClear has previously run a newspaper campaign with full page adverts in daily news papers criticising what it refers to as the “Ultra Farce Bill”.

TelstraClear CEO Allan Freeth told Computerworld at the recent Tel.Con 11 event that his parent company in Australia is concerned about the effects of the Bill if passed. Of particular concern is that the Commerce Commission won’t have oversight into wholesale pricing on the UFB network until 2020.

Freeth believes that Telecom is most likely be awarded the contract to partner with the government on the remaining 80 percent of the UFB build that is currently under negotiation with Crown Fibre Holdings. If Telecom does get the lion’s share the telco will have to structurally separate. Freeth told Computerworld he would be happy for Telecom to get the UFB contract, but only if its "a level playing field".

The finance and expenditure select committee is due to report back on the bill on May 16.

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