RealTime IT News

Possible Green Light for Telstra Media Spree

The Federal Government has all but permitted national telecommunications carrier Telstra to buy into Australia's media industry.

Amid speculation that Telstra is considering purchasing media assets to support its Internet interests, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said that the government would not hinder such a move.

"Telstra has enormous interests across the field. Is anyone seriously suggesting that we should somehow suddenly restrict Telstra from investing in media?" Alston said. "I think it is fair to say that new technology is always going to be pushing the boundaries of regulatory restrictions."

Telstra has established a history in media investments, after purchasing and subsequently selling a 10 per cent stake in the Seven national television network a decade ago. It also currently owns 50 per cent of Australian pay TV company Foxtel.

Alston said that there would "need to be a change of attitude across the political spectrum" before the Federal Senate would consider such ambitions by Telstra. He added though that as people gain information from a variety of media sources, there should not be the same concerns over control over knowledge as when cross-media ownership was investigated by the Federal Senate in the early 1990s.