NBN bows to telco anger over agreements

NBN bows to telco anger over agreements

Summary: The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has tweaked its Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA) for retail service providers in its third release of the document, bowing to pressure over liability and blame issues.


The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has tweaked its Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA) for retail service providers in its third release of the document, bowing to pressure over liability and blame issues.

The WBA is the document that outlines the types of products and services that retail service providers can access on the NBN, as well as the terms and conditions for those services. NBN Co has been consulting with industry over the past 10 months, conducting around 100 hours of consultation with telcos and referring to 22 submissions on the original version of document.

NBN Co has removed a sticking point in the document for many of the RSPs — clause E7 — which would have prevented the RSPs from blaming NBN Co for any fault or issue with the network in communication with their own customers. In submissions to the second release of the document, Optus described the clause as "not practical", while Telstra said that it was "over prescriptive". Vodafone Hutchison Australia said it was a "substantial customer relationship issue", and Herbert Greer (acting on behalf of Internode, iiNet and Adam Internet) said that if NBN Co is responsible for faults, then the RSP is "doing no more than providing accurate and truthful information to its customers".

The government-owned wholesale provider also addressed clauses that telcos believed placed too much liability on them, when NBN Co would be best-placed to manage such risk.

In regards to access, Optus pointed out that NBN Co had sought to force RSPs to be responsible for obtaining consent from home owners every time NBN Co needed to gain access to a premise for equipment installation, removal or maintenance. Optus argued that as NBN Co actually owned this equipment, it should be responsible for obtaining consent to access the equipment. NBN Co changed the clause, so RSPs will only be responsible for seeking consent to install the NBN Co equipment.

NBN Co's head of product development, Jim Hassell, said that NBN Co had listened to the feedback, and had acted to improve the WBA.

"We have listened carefully to our customers in developing this agreement, and it is the result of extensive consultation with our customers and potential customers. It uses clear direct language and a simple logical structure to give RSPs a comprehensive view of our services and contract terms," he said in a statement.

NBN Co also yesterday released a discussion paper for its Special Access Undertaking (SAU), which will set out the 30-year regulation environment for the NBN. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) must approve the SAU, and will review it every five years to ensure that NBN Co is meeting its commitments. NBN Co is accepting submissions to the discussion paper until 19 August.

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, Telcos, NBN


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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I know a headline's gotta grab, but "anger"? There's nothing in the article to suggest that any more than vigorous lobbying and negotiation has taken place. If there have been high dramas and heated fury going on behind the scenes, there's no hint of it here.
  • There will be serious anger and much gnashing of teeth and tears of blood when at a time convenient to the NBN Co they decide to move into the retail side of the business. This will happen as sure as night follows day as a dominant Government reveals its plan to remove private enterprise from the market with regulation and blackmail.
    • Now, listen 'round folks: here's sydneyla giving an object lesson in how to spread tawdry, baseless FUD.

      What happened, mate? Last week you were making unexpected sense. Now we're back to making up bitter garbage. In all seriousness, are things OK?
    • "There will be serious anger and much gnashing of teeth and tears of blood when at a time"

      Honestly I'm more looking forward to a time when there will be much gnashing of teeth from the hapless anti-NBN crusaders... oh wait it's already happening. In fact it never ends. Thanks for stopping by.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • Hi Gwyntaglaw and sorry if I upset you. Rest assured that my position remains the same as expressed recently and my question as to the possibility of Government entrance to the RSP business was made with genuine seriousness. Could you provide me with advice, via the kind platform of ZDNet, why you doubt that it would be possible for Government with endorsement from the NBN Co., to enter the Retail NBN and with Government assistance dominate that business?
  • @ Sydneyla...

    But you didn't say possibility you said... "as sure as night follows day"... which equals FUD...!

    Syd anything is possible! For example, you may even make a comment which isn't complete share driven FUD... very unlikely, but still possible...!
  • What a sorry bunch of sanctimonious oxygen thieves. You are getting your NBN, I suggest you wander outside and get some sun.
    Knowledge Expert
    • "You are getting your NBN"

      The coalition baboons could always make a mess of it if they get in at the next election. Either way I will be proven right about everything and in your case you really shouldn't have said anything, ever heard the phrase "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt"?
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • And...

    I'd suggest you wander inside ... you've obviously got waaaay too much sun...!