Telstra has been criticised by independent analysts for a new strategy that makes it cheaper to have a high-speed internet connection.
The telecommunications giant, which has been accused of a “gag order” on the NBN rollout, said it was investing $5.5 billion in infrastructure to help people who want to connect to the internet more easily.
But the company’s chief executive, Glenn Thodey, said Telstra was investing in a network that was already in place, and would “make it easier for Australians who want faster internet connections”.
“We’re not making it harder for the Australians to connect.
We’re making it easier to connect and we’re investing in infrastructure,” Mr Thodely told ABC radio.”
I don’t think we’ve made it easier by having an order from Telstra,” he said.”
What we’re doing is actually investing in the infrastructure to get a network ready for the NBN.”
The investment will see more than $2 billion in new fibre optic cable laying in the Sydney CBD and suburbs and more than half of the existing fibre optic cables will be upgraded to high-bandwidth.
Mr Thodeys comments came after a report released on Monday by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) criticised the company for “gagging” the rollout of the NBN.
The ACMA’s report found that the company was required to make all available upgrades to the network by July 1, but failed to do so.
“We found that there was significant delay in completing the upgrades, and that many Australians are not receiving the upgrades they were promised,” the report said.”[The company] has committed to deliver the upgrades as quickly as possible but there is a substantial amount of work to do.”
Mr Thodes comments came as the government said it would increase its $1.8 billion NBN investment to $8.2 billion by July 31.
The Liberal Party has promised to provide $1 billion in additional funding for the network, which is the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history.
“If you don’t invest in the network you’re not going to get the NBN, which means you’re also not going see the benefit of the network,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said on Monday.
“The Coalition is committed to providing the funding to help build this network, and we have every confidence that this government will deliver.”