Telstra has distanced itself from the ACCC's estimates of the value of its copper access network, estimates that were accidentally released yesterday by Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy.
A spokesperson for Senator Conroy said the information was tabled by mistake and that the government regretted the error. "The value of network assets is a subject of talks with Telstra and we have already indicated that we will not be discussing or giving a running commentary on those discussions," the spokesperson said.
The 252-page document written by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), details its assessment of the first $4.7 billion NBN process; however, highlighted passages that were meant to be removed were not.
Using its own and Telstra's cost models, the ACCC estimated the value of the telco's copper access network at between $8 billion and $40 billion, explaining the variance was due to the use of different models and whether it used net or gross valuation.
Specific paragraphs that were meant to be removed included that the ACCC's information suggested just over half of Telstra's copper access network (CAN) had been paid off by users. "The gross historic cost of fixed CAN assets is around $17 billion ... whilst their net value is around $8 billion." The passage goes on to explain, based on previous submissions by Telstra, the extent to which components of its network had been depreciated by Telstra.
In response, Telstra today released a statement clarifying that the figures reported in the documents are not those being negotiated, but are simply regulatory cost-modelling figures.