Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penn said the ACCC’s decision clearly recognised the overwhelming call from regional Australia to continue encouraging telecommunications investment and competition.
“This is the right decision for the people, businesses and communities of regional Australia because it ensures the industry still has the incentives to invest,” Mr Penn said.
“Dozens of community groups, business leaders, local councils and politicians from across the country made submissions to the ACCC. The overwhelming call from regional Australia was that their top priority was encouraging telecommunications investment to improve and extend mobile coverage.
“Last year Telstra committed to keep investing to improve and expand our mobile network in regional, rural and remote areas. Through our own direct investment, as well as co-investment, we expect to see up to $1 billion of investment flow to small towns and regional centres across the country over the next five years.
“We also support the ACCC’s suggestion to encourage greater transparency about network quality, expansions and improvements.
“If this decision is confirmed we will immediately move to expand our 4G coverage to reach 99% of the population by later this year. It also paves the way for ongoing investment in the coming years that would see an additional 1.4 million square kilometres of 4G coverage for regional and rural Australia. This means that about 600 base stations will be upgraded from 3G to 4G giving the Australian population access to a world leading 4G network.
“This draft decision means we are one step closer to being able to get on with this exciting work that will have positive impacts on people who live, work and visit regional areas.
“If this decision is confirmed, I look forward to Telstra getting on with the job of supporting regional Australia with even more investment.”