Optus close to clinching $800m NBN deal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
29 May 2012
Daily News

Australia's Optus looks likely to receive approval for an A$800 million ($787.5 million) deal to progressively migrate its HFC customers to the National Broadband Network.

Australian competition regulator ACCC has given draft approval to Optus' deal with NBN Co, the company set up to oversee the NBN rollout.

Under the proposed agreement, first announced in June last year, Optus will begin decommissioning its HFC (hybrid fiber coaxial) network and moving the customers onto the NBN fiber network as it is rolled out to the areas covered.

Announcing its decision, the ACCC said that while the agreement would remove a potentially significant competitor to the NBN in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, it would also relieve Optus of the cost burden of operating the network.

In a statement, Optus chief country officer Paul O'Sullivan said this would allow the operator to divert the resources into providing retail services via the NBN.

In January, NBN Co told the ACCC that the company would likely be forced to raise prices nationwide without the Optus deal.

The network has also relied on an $11 billion arrangement with incumbent operator Telstra to separate Telstra's wholesale and retail operations and progressively migrate the retail customers to the NBN.

Optus is Australia's second largest operator after Telstra. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's SingTel, and recently folded its Optus Business unit into the new groupwide enterprise division SingTel Group ICT.

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