Telstra 'extorting' the Government: Competitive Carrier’s Coalition

The Competitive Carrier’s Coalition (CCC) has taken a swing at Telstra calling its market update on the state of negotiations over the value of its assests little more than “an extortion note” to the Government.

In a statement, the body representing the non-dominant carriers in Australia, said Telstra’s announcement translated into a demand that taxpayers spend billions to bail the company out of the "hole it has dug for itself".

“Telstra admits in its statement today that the competition and consumer protection reforms proposed by the Government are in the national interest. Yet it has done everything it can in the past five months to prevent those reforms passing Senate,” the statement reads.

“But one day after having succeeded in stopping these laws passing the Senate, Telstra now reveals that it wants a special payment from taxpayers to get out of the way of decent reforms.”

Senators made the decision last week to stall the Telstra separation bill. The CCC argues the bill would support consumers and competition and politicians responsible should “hang their heads in shame".

“Telstra has made them look like laughing stocks by revealing the truth the day after Parliament adjourned. Such Senators have learnt a lesson that competitors long ago learnt – there is no such thing as a negotiation with Telstra,” the statement reads.

“Clearly, Telstra’s bargaining position with the NBN Co is weak or else it would not be demanding taxpayer handouts. If this is reflected in the implementation study, taxpayers, Senators and Telstra shareholders deserve to know it.”

For its part, Telstra argues that it believes there to be a significant gap between Telstra and NBN Co on what each party believed to be an acceptable financial outcomes.

“There are also a range of commercial matters that are yet to be agreed,” the company’s ASX update reads. “In addition Telstra is discussion ways in which the gap can be bridged recognising the Government has highlighted the national interest benefits of the NBN platform of the telecommunications industry.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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