Call to action to fix the broadband drought

Media Release, 06 January 2014

Telstra is enlisting the help of its shareholders, staff and customers as it urges Australians to get behind a campaign to help build a national high-speed broadband network. At a briefing in Melbourne, Telstra Group General Manager Public Policy and Communications, Dr Phil Burgess officially launched the company's Broadband Australia Campaign (BACKTelstra). Dr Burgess said Australia's ability to match the performance of its overseas competitors was at risk because the country was suffering from a "broadband drought". Still regulators would not give the green light needed by investors. "Telstra wants to invest billions of dollars in a next generation network but the current regulations make it impossible. Australia's major trading partners, including the Asian growth economies, are surging ahead of Australia. In Japan and Korea alone, more than 105 million homes and businesses will be connected to fibre delivering over 100 Mbps within three years," Dr Burgess said. "Because Australia is a sparsely populated country, distant from its major trading partners with an economy heavily dependent on small business, access to high speed broadband services is the key to future growth and prosperity," Dr Burgess said. "Australians deserve a regulatory regime that encourages companies, including Telstra's competitors, to invest in broadband networks that will allow the country to increase productivity, expand wealth to everyone and compete in the global market over the decades ahead," Dr Burgess said. Already Telstra has -

  • Issued a campaign flyer to over one million Telstra shareholders
  • Established a campaign website, , and mobilised Telstra staff as campaign ambassadors
  • Ensured BACKTelstra information is included in communications to Telstra's 8 million customers including messages in all Telstra bills.

Supporters of Telstra's campaign are being invited to lobby MPs, write letters to newspapers and make calls to talkback radio. "We are encouraged by the response we have already received, for example close to 2,000 people have already signed up as Telstra Active Supporters". However, Dr Burgess said that the campaign would not engage in electoral politics. "The campaign is not partisan or even bipartisan, it is post-partisan. It is not about who's right , it's about what's right for Australia, to ensure Australia gets the investment it needs in new technology to end the broadband drought, so it can grow, prosper and keep up with the rest of the world. "We are interested in discussing this issue and its solutions with anyone and everyone who shares our concern about Australians having access to world class high-speed broadband internet services that will create future jobs, growth and investment," Dr Burgess said. The briefing will be webcast live today from nowwearetalking at 11am AEDT. An archived version of the webcast will be available tomorrow.