Primus chief fights against forced fibre

The new CEO of Primus Australia, Tom Mazerski, advocates consumer choice. That means the option for consumers to stay with copper and less market control from Telstra.

Mazerski says the National Broadband Network (NBN) was one of the reasons he moved to Australia. He likes the policy that removes the gap between the haves and have-nots, but he is concerned that it won’t do enough to level the playing field in this market. Australia will retain too much control and so prices will continue to be distorted.

Instead, he suggests second tier carriers are given favourable rates for NBN access to “level the playing field”. It’s a suggestion that might seem a little self-serving, but we’re yet to see any other ideas about how we can remove Telstra’s stranglehold on the market.

As for the NBN, Mazerski doesn’t believe the cost should be passed on to low-end consumers who want a phone-only connection. He says users should have the choice about whether fibre runs into their home. He calls it forced broadband, and suggests more policy work is needed to stop this from happening.

A recent example of forced broadband was Telstra’s move to a fibre-only exchange in South Brisbane. He says in this decision Telstra has essentially de-regulated itself. The company has abandoned copper without any regulatory involvement. “I’m now going to have to go to my customers in that exchange saying we are moving you to fibre and your prices are going to go up.”

It’s an interesting half-hour discussion — you’ll find it refreshing to hear the views of an industry veteran new to the market putting his perspective on issues we have been grappling with in Australia for some time.

First published on ZDNet

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