Telstra finalizes terms of $11b NBN deal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Mar 2012

Australia's Telstra has finalized the terms of its A$11 billion ($11.5 billion) agreement to separate and participate in the National Broadband Network project.

The operator today announced that after nearly three years of negotiations, Telstra, the government and NBN Co have settled on definitive agreements for Telstra's co-operation in the NBN.

Telstra agreed in 2010 to structurally separate its wholesale and retail operations, and progressively migrate its fixed-line customers onto the NBN as the wholesale fiber network is built out.

The operator will also provide its extensive network of ducts and pipes to NBN Co as customers are moved off the copper lines, and eventually decommission its copper network while retaining its HFC network.

But negotiations surrounding the specifics of the deal have been protracted, with the deadline delayed multiple times. Sticking points included issues such as points of interconnect and NBN pricing.

Regulator ACMA had also repeatedly expressed concerns with Telstra's structural separation undertaking (SSU), requiring the operator to revise the document multiple times. But ACMA finally approved the latest version of the SSU late last month.

Also last month, Telstra came in for criticism after announcing broadband plans that will force all early adopters of Telstra's NBN offerings to also pay for a bundled copper line for voice calls.

Critics have accused Telstra of trying to squeeze maximum value from the copper network while it is still operational, and slammed the operator for having far higher prices than competing retail operators using the NBN.

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