Vodafone - yes, we paid for study used by Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing
ICT Minister Amy Adams has wone a side punch-up in the broader brawl over copper pricing.
Ms Adams said Vodafone was bankrolling the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing while leaving smaller ISPs to front the campaign.
She was right, at least in part.
"Vodafone has not contributed directly to the CFFIP," Vodafone external affairs director Tom Chignell told NBR ONLINE.
However, Vodafone did pay for the Covec research that was central to the Coalition's campaign.
"Covec did some work which was of use to both Vodafone and the CFFIP. We also shared our thinking on a range of other related issues in support of our primary goal. Vodafone agreed to pay for the Covec work and Covec was asked to invoice us directly."
Neither the Coalition nor Vodafone felt the need to highlight Vodafone had bankrolled the Covec research before Ms Adams raised it.
However, Vodafone's searing critique of Ms Adams Telecommunications Act review (read Vodafone slams 'corporate welfare' for Chorus) left little doubt where the company stood. It took the Coalition's arguments, and amplified them. Copper price cuts would go into Chorus shareholders pockets, not subsidise the UFB; fibre should be made more attractive, not copper made artificially more expensive.
Its stance was underlined when Vodafone revealed to media that Chorus had temporarily suspended industry talks over faster, cheaper UFB fibre plans.
Mr Chignell added today that the Coalition and Vodafone had always had common cause.
"As we have always said, we have one goal in common which was to stop the Government rolling the regulator on copper pricing."
He added, "Vodafone has two other key goals. The first is to get the LFCs to enhance the entry-level UFB speeds so that there is a clear difference between copper (especially, VDSL) and fibre in terms of speeds. The second, related, point was that if the LFCs were not prepared to do this then the Government should look to unbundle the fibre network earlier than 2019 to let others provide products that customers want."