TelstraClear chief executive Dr Allan Freeth is backing Telecom's demand that it have regulatory certainty ahead of any fibre network investment.
“To really lift broadband performance we need to take fibre closer to customers. That’s going to require significant investment and at this time the most viable option appears to be Telecom's fibre to the node proposal,” Freeth said in a statement released today. He added that Telecom has the right to expect a competitive return on shareholder investment. Freeth will deliver further details of TelstraClear's proposals, which ask for open and equivalent network access coupled with investment certainty, tomorrow. “With the right competitive framework in place Telecom should be able to build a fibre network that competitors can access at reasonable rates while at the same time achieving a competitive return on its investment,” he says. “Non-discriminatory access and fair treatment are crucial. A key outcome of the December legislation is that Telecom should pay the same charge for network use as its competitors and receive equivalent network performance and service levels.” Dr Freeth says the fibre investment decision facing Telecom is the same issue TelstraClear faces when considering infrastructure investment. It is also the same issue facing its parent company in Australia, where Telstra is playing hardball over investment and access with the Australian government and regulators. “This isn’t a debate about being an incumbent or a challenger. It’s about sensible investment and returns, with regulation that gives companies the confidence to commit to the huge sums needed to transform broadband in New Zealand,” Freeth says.