Turnbull still confident of Telstra-NBN deal change

Turnbull still confident of Telstra-NBN deal change

Summary: Australian Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident that Telstra would be willing to renegotiate its AU$11 billion deal for the NBN should there be a change of government in September.


On Monday, The Australian reported that Telstra CEO David Thodey said the company would still look to get the same AU$11 billion amount under a Coalition government as it is slated to get under its current deal with NBN Co to lease its pits and ducts, and shift customers from the copper network to the NBN.

Turnbull, who has yet to release his policy in full, has suggested that the AU$37.4 billion fibre-to-the-premise rollout could be scaled back to a fibre-to-the-node VDSL network, which would utilise Telstra's existing copper network from the node to each premise.

Speaking on radio station 2GB today, Turnbull said that Telstra would be flexible to a change.

"They're not going to renegotiate a contract which results in their shareholders getting a haircut, obviously. They're not mugs and I can't un-write bad deals that [Communications Minister Stephen] Conroy and [Prime Minister Julia] Gillard have written. I mean, we're stuck with that," he said.

"But we can change, for example, [what] we can do. We can use their copper, we can do fibre-to-the-node rather than fibre-to-the-premise, as long as Telstra shareholders are not worse off financially, and that is very manageable."

While Conroy yesterday suggested that a similar deal was possible under a Coalition government, he also said that Telstra shareholders would keep the same value of the deal, but Australians would be worse off.

"Where you're at now is you can get the best network in the world for the value of the Telstra contract ... or Telstra will receive the same payment and help Malcolm Turnbull build a second-rate network," he said.

Last week, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley called for an analysis by industry group Communications Alliance into the alternative NBN policies, including fibre-to-the-node. The announcement was not met with praise from the industry, and the Communications Alliance has yet to confirm whether it will undertake such a study.

Conroy said yesterday that he was "very relaxed" at the possibility of any such study going ahead.

"Any serious test will show that fibre-to-the-home is the best long term solution," he said.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Why is Connroy Relaxed?

    His seat isn't up for a vote until 2017. So he wont be going down with the ship.
    • Off to the UN

      He'll be off to the UN Broadband Commission in a couple of years... where he's revered as a hero, 'coz he happily commits to spend $50billion+ of taxpayers' money.
      • Why?

        Why must you lie to try and get your point across? There is no '$50billion+ of taxpayers' money' being spent on the rollout. There IS $50b (give or take) being spent, but its not taxpayers money for the most part.

        Its private investment for the most part, with SOME Government money forming part of the capital expense. With a plan to get that money repaid, there is no taxpayer money considered to be spent, as per global accounting practices.

        If you choose otherwise, its you that is wrong.

        But just out of curiosity, even if there IS $50b being spent, how is that worse than the $30b the Liberals will spend, with no plan to recoup the expenditure? $50b for infrastructure that could last a century versus $30b for infrastructure that will be past its due date by the time its completed.
        • You may note

          that the NBN will be paid for by subscribers, filtered through ISPs, and that cost recovery is based on people paying three times as much for their internet access in 10 years time as they are paying now.

          Pretty much all of those subscribers are taxpayers, so in a sense yes, it will be paid for by taxpayers. Note also that Conroy wants us all to pay the same, even if we have no use for the bandwidth available. 100Mb to every house is completely unnecessary, though I'm sure media companies are rubbing their hands with glee at being able to push their content over the internet at zero infrastructure cost and very much higher prices than their current distribution media (cable, broadcast, DVD, etc.).

          The NBN also obsoletes all the (supposedly future proof) fibre that was run for cable TV just a few years ago, so why is Conroy so convinced that his fibre won't be obsoleted by something else in a few years too?
          Fred Fredrickson
  • School excursion

    Must be a school excursion today the power rangers have gone missing.
    • Ingested too much bran?

      Turnbull's pet poodle is out & yapping bright & early today...
      • I resent that

        You leave Sultan alone - he may be the only person here that knows the truth about who I am.
        Hurbet Cumberdale
        • The Real Sultan

          Confession: I am actually a Lib Flunky, hired to spread misinformation about FTTH & so desperate to prop up the clueless Abbott/Turnbull FTTN fiasco that I have to resort to childish faked imitation IDs. Mainly due to my lack of intellect preventing me from posting a valid argument to FTTH supporters.
  • Turnbull, do you think Telstra are stupid?

    Mr Turnbull, Telstra has a valuable asset, valuable because your plan makes it so. Your short sighteded penny pinching NEEDS their copper. You don't expect them to wring every cent they can out of you? Or have you already made some sweet heart deal with them to pay them line rental so it doesn't appear on your "cheaper, faster" CAPEX? I hope you are around to see what your plan will cost Australian's in the long run, not that you would ever admit you were wrong. Your ego is too big to even contemplate that you could be.
    • Telstra knows an opportunity

      The death of Telstra's monopoly is about to be reprieved and that won't drive the hardest bargain known given that TA and MT have staked their careers on it and have told us they have it in the bag?

      So far, Telstra has been relieved of breathing life back into the network that has been allowed to languish, why would they take that responsibility back on without their palms being loaded with silver? How much of the existing network in VDSL ready? No one volunteers or answers this question.
  • Turnbull is wrong.

    BT in the UK did FTTN and last week announced they got it wrong. The CEO stated it should have been FTTP and not node. So now they have to go and finish off the project when it should have been FTTP from the start. The French have even copied the NBN and doing FTTP so why can't the Lib's admit they are clueless and just build it.
    • Pot calls kettle black

      Turnbull is wrong? BT in the UK did FTTN and last week announced they got it wrong? Could you provide a link? Is this what you refer to? http://delimiter.com.au/2012/04/30/fttn-a-huge-mistake-says-ex-bt-cto/ To wit: 'One of the UK’s foremost telecommunications experts, a former chief technology officer [CTO] of British telco BT, has publicly stated that fibre to the node-style broadband is “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made”. ' Isn't that what one would expect all failed CTOs to say when they lose their day jobs? The CEO, Ian Livingstone, is actually on the record as saying the opposite. Google him why don't you?
      • "Isn't that what one would expect all failed CTOs to say when they lose their day jobs?"

        I'd actually expect everyone to say that. Doesn't take a genius to come to this conclusion so if your current BT CEO can't figure out what a "failed CTO" can I'd say that would be very concerning for BT... perhaps listening to sound advice should be the first step though.
        Hubert Cumberdale
      • Job loss?

        Who said Peter Cochrane "lost" his job? Perhaps he no longer believed in it.
    • "so why can't the Lib's admit they are clueless and just build it."

      It's important to keep their clueless bogan voters happy, the ones that believe more speed wont be needed and that believe some magical star trek wireless technology will make fibre obsolete... even though we dont need more speed according to them. As you can see they are not only very clueless but also very confused :-)
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Why cant you?

        The day you are faced with a choice, neither of which is ideal you will get it.
        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klG9G4BDLtA
          Hubert Cumberdale
  • Hmmm

    So instead of listening to the messages from the people who have been there and done that or are unquestionable experts in their field, who have found FttN no good (including our own PoE who said it unviable) the idea is to try to discredit these people?

    But not only that, readily accept everything MT says without question:/
    • Indeed RS. This certainly is concerning, sounds like they'll make a complete mess of it from day one if they get in too. Look at what Turnbull is actually saying, imagine spending all that money on something that does not have much life left in it when fibre will take us to 2028 & beyond. What a waste, seems the coalition clowns are just waiting to screw taxpayers in the process too as they'll turn NBNco into GimpCo.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Further RS I think that my keyboard has been inhabited by a ghost.

        For some reason I think that the NBN should be destroyed and everyone should vote liberal.
        Hurbet Cumberdale