Google is facing a major legal battle over its handling of the race between rival telcos to build a network that would bring high-speed internet to rural and remote areas.
The company is fighting a series of legal claims from the telcos, claiming that it failed to communicate with them on the subject of the NBN rollout, failing to explain the cost of the project and that it did not give them a fair share of the revenue from the rollout.
Telstra is one of the biggest broadband players in Australia and was a major party in the election campaign, but has been battling for months to win the trust of the Coalition and the Labor party over its plans for the NBN.
But the Coalition has been pushing for the Coalition to make it a requirement for all broadband plans that it be delivered on time.
The NBN is a government-owned network which is supposed to deliver high-quality, reliable and affordable high-definition (HD) internet services.
It will be rolled out over the next five years, and it will cost the Coalition a total of $42 billion over its five-year lifecycle.
The Coalition’s NBN policy, announced last year, was to build the network by 2020, and have the network fully operational by 2021.
It said it would deliver “substantial” broadband speeds by 2025.
The telcos have argued that the Coalition’s plan is too ambitious and that the NBN should be built “as a shared service” with a single provider.
The federal government has rejected the telco arguments, saying the Coalition is not “capable of delivering the full NBN network” and it should only deliver parts of the network that it is contracted to build.
The Telstra case is the latest in a series that has seen Telstra argue that the telcoms NBN plan was too expensive, while the Coalition argued that Telstra’s plans were “premium” and “too expensive”.
The telcos argument that it should have a say over NBN rollout is an argument that the Government is likely to fight in court, with Telstra arguing that its case is one that should not be made in public.
A Telstra spokesperson told the ABC that the company had “consulted with its partners on the NBN plan, as well as with the Coalition on its implementation plans, and we will continue to provide any information we can to assist the Government”.
The NBN rollout has been delayed twice, first by the Coalition, then by Labor, but the Coalition said the NBN was on track to be completed by 2022.
The Labor government has now promised to make the NBN a requirement, as part of its infrastructure spending review.
A spokesperson for the Department of Communications and the Communications Security Bureau (CSAB) told the BBC that they were not aware of any legal action against Telstra.
The Department of Telecommunications said in a statement that the government would work with the telsphere and the telfons NBN rollout “to deliver a network for the benefit of all Australians and ensure we deliver high speed broadband service to rural communities”.
It added: “The Government is committed to building a truly global telecommunications network that is reliable, affordable and provides the world’s most reliable internet service to all Australians.”
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