Australia’s National Broadband Network is to take ownership of elements of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks in a deal meant to pave the way for all Australians to have access to fast broadband by 2020.
The original definitive agreements between NBN Co and Telstra, struck in June 2011, gave NBN Co access to certain Telstra assets such as ducts, pits and exchanges to use in the rollout the NBN, but not access to Telstra’s copper or HFC assets.
The changes to the agreements announced today are subject to a number of conditions precedent, including approval by the ACCC of a revised Migration Plan and rulings by the Australian Taxation Office.
The progressive transfer of the copper and HFC assets to NBN Co involves no overall additional cost to the taxpayer. It is estimated that the move to a multi-technology mix NBN will enable the NBN to be built at the least cost to taxpayers and be completed at least four years sooner than under the previous fibre-to-the-premises plan.
“This deal will bring down the overall cost of building the NBN and enable us to complete the rollout much earlier than originally anticipated with less disruption to residents and communities,” comments NBN Co’s CEO, Bill Morrow. “What’s more, making use of technologies such as copper and HFC – rather than decommissioning them – enables Australia to capitalise on the significant investments being made globally in broadband technology.”