Just when it looked like the Australian government and Telstra might have been nearing an agreement over its place in the country's broadband future, the tide turns yet again.
This time, Telstra is protesting the government's recent change to the country's National Broadband Network (NBN) plan. At issue is a provision in the draft legislation that would allow the government-run provider to offer both retail and wholesale services.
"Although this is only draft legislation, it raises for the first time the prospect of NBN Co. becoming a government-funded retailer, not just a wholesale network provider," Telstra's top executives wrote in a letter addressed to government official, as reported in the Herald Sun newspaper. "We are very concerned about this potential change in the Government's position."
This latest tussle with the government is not sitting well with investors as Telstra's shares plummeted in the past week.
Telstra faces a number of challenges as Australia pursues its $386 billion broadband expansion ambitions. In addition to selling off some of its assets into the NBN, the government is forcing the incumbent to separate its wholesale and retail divisions, a process that it says will take at least five years to finish.
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