BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Telstra 'may be forced to split'
Telstra customer
The privatisation of Telstra was completed in 2006
Australia's largest phone company Telstra may be forced to split in two to reconcile the need for a nationwide broadband network.

The communications minister Helen Coonan said making Telstra separate its retail and network businesses was one option being considered.

Telstra's plans to build a broadband network stalled over pricing after two years of negotiations with regulators.

Australia's former telecoms monopoly was privatised in 2006.

Competition

The government now plans to hold an open tender for the building of the broadband network, but may make Telstra split its businesses first so there is a level playing field between rival bidders.

A rival consortium headed by Optus, which is a unit of Singapore Telecom, has also put forward proposals to build a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network and other companies are also understood to be considering putting forward proposals.

Broadband internet speeds have become a political issue ahead of federal elections, which are expected to be held next month.

The opposition Labor Party has proposals to speed up the building of the network, which also involve breaking up Telstra.

Last week, New Zealand's government decided that Telecom Corp of New Zealand would have to be broken up into three operating units to speed up the introduction of its own broadband networks.

SEE ALSO
Telstra's privatisation complete
20 Nov 06 |  Business
Telstra share sale date revealed
06 Oct 06 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific