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Tuesday, 13 May 2008 12:41

G9 and T4 team up to target Telstra UPDATED

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A group representing most of the main carrier competitors to Telstra has launched a new lobbying campaign and web site to counter what it says is a threatened "return to a Telstra monopoly and sky high broadband prices."

Ten carriers - AAPT, iiNet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, PowerTel, Primus, Soul, Telarus and TransAct - took out full page newspaper advertisements on 13 May to promote their website  fairgobroadband.com.au . The ad claims that "Broadband prices are the lowest they have ever been in Australia," and asks: "But for how long?"  It says that, with the government planning a new broadband network, "Telstra wants to use this to force broadband prices much higher." And it calls on concerned readers to "register now at fairgobroadband.com.au and  add your voice to the call for a fair go in broadband."

The initiative follows that in April 2007 by the so called 'T4' group of 11 carriers   - AAPT, Austar, iiNet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, Powertel, Primus Telecom, Telarus, TransACT, WestNet and Unwired - who set up a web site 'Tell the Truth Telstra '  to counter Telstra's Nowwearetalking.  Fairgo contains a link to the T4 site which seems rather moribund: there have been no updates since November 2007.

The T4 members missing from the Fairgo group are Westnet - recently acquired by iiNet, Austar and Unwired (Telarus was not shown in newspaper adverts due to a typesetting error). The G9 comprises AAPT, IiNet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, PowerTel, Primus, Soul and TransAct.

The most significant addition to T4 for the Fairgo initiative is that of G9 leader Optus, which is responsible for most of the initial content on Fairgo: an audio file of a recent speech by its CEO, Paul O'Sullivan, at an ABN Amro investment conference in late April; and 10 page Optus position statement on broadband. A spokeswoman for G9 told iTWire that "The ad campaign today was not strictly speaking a T4 initiative, but involved the T4 companies that were able to participate within the timeframe available and also included other industry players such as Optus."

At present the site has no menus, no real structure and there is no indication of how it will be used other than an invitation for visitors to register to be kept posted with news and updates on the national broadband network.

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