NBN bill passes, new battle looms

Dylan Bushell-Embling
30 Nov 2010

The Australian government has passed key NBN legislation through parliament, clearing passage for Telstra's separation and its participation in the project.

But the government may face another tough battle in 2011 to pass more laws required for the national high-speed broadband scheme.

A special sitting of the lower house yesterday voted to pass the bill to split Telstra, approving the changes added by the senate during the government's battle to ensure passage last week.

Telstra and NBN Co - the state-backed company set up to build the fiber network - will now meet to thrash out a final agreement on Telstra's participation in the A$35.7 billion ($34.2b) network, which aims to deliver 1Gbps fiber to 93% of homes.

The companies hope to have a plan to submit for regulatory approval within weeks, Telstra CFO John Stanhope told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Telstra is set to reap A$14 billion ($13.43b) over the next 30 years to cover its involvement in the project, including compensation for splitting its retail arm from the rest of the company and for its extensive network of copper ducts and infrastructure.

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