Is TPG Too Quick For Turnbull?

This week TPG announced plans to build VDSL connectivity to 500,000 premises. Is this good news for the new Communications Minister, or too much too soon?

On this week’s CrossTalk podcast CommsDay columnist Kevin Morgan says this is exactly what we need – “people investing and taking the initiative rather than waiting for the government to give them things or cut up the cake to their advantage”.

It’s hard to argue that the private sector shouldn’t be involved where it makes sense to do so, but what about the rest of the country? Tony Brown, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media, describes the situation in Hong Kong where low rent apartments have been the easiest to hook up. Basically, he says, “the poorer you are the better quality the broadband you are going to have”.

But Mark Gregory, a senior lecturer at RMIT University, says the TPG proposal raises a lot of questions. For example, ensuring there is a universal service obligation in relation to line speeds, so those that cherry pick meet a set of agreed criteria.

As we discuss, multiple wholesale providers could also provide a complex regulatory environment. How can the ACCC set access prices when there is such a variation in cost structures?

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