NBN Co quiet on AAPT spectrum buy

NBN Co quiet on AAPT spectrum buy

Summary: NBN Co has quietly picked up 850MHz of spectrum from AAPT in the 28GHz spectrum band for its satellite service, but the company has refused to reveal how much it paid.

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NBN Co has quietly picked up 850MHz of spectrum from AAPT in the 28GHz spectrum band for its satellite service, but the company has refused to reveal how much it paid.

In its six-monthly report to the government, released yesterday, the company revealed that in November, it had acquired 850MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band from internet service provider (ISP) AAPT for the provision of the company's long-term satellite service, which will be launched in 2015.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website, NBN Co has picked up just over two years' worth of spectrum licences in the 28GHz band in Adelaide, central-west NSW, Hobart, inner-west Queensland, Launceston, Mount Gambier, northern NSW, south Perth, "remote Australia", Riverland, South Coast NSW, south-west WA and the Spencer Gulf.

NBN Co refused to reveal the cost of this spectrum purchase to ZDNet Australia, due to "commercial sensitivity".

NBN Co has frequently declined to release information about purchases and tendering processes, due to the information being "commercial in confidence". Questions about the halting of the construction tender process last year, and details on how NBN Co prices the extension of the fibre roll-out to areas outside of the planned 93 per cent of the population have been met with denials on the basis of commercial confidentiality.

Even questions from members of parliament have been shot down with a similar commercial confidentiality claim. In the second report of the joint parliamentary committee reviewing the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out, committee chair Rob Oakeshott expressed frustration with NBN Co continually using this provision to withhold information from the committee.

"The committee will continue to monitor claims of commercial in confidence, and may seek to press the issue if it believes its mandate from the parliament and the government is being unduly impeded by such claims without satisfactory explanation," Oakeshott said.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull agreed.

"While appreciating that some matters are genuinely commercially sensitive, the coalition members of the committee do not see why a commercial contract should receive automatic and blanket protection from parliamentary scrutiny simply because it involves a private-sector counter-party," Turnbull said.

The AAPT buy is not the first spectrum grab for NBN Co. Last year, the company bought spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrums from Austar for $120 million. NBN Co plans to use this spectrum for its fixed-wireless long-term evolution (LTE) network, which is expected to be up and running by 2015 for 4 of the 7 per cent of Australian premises not covered in the fibre roll-out.

The spectrum licences that NBN Co bought from AAPT are set to expire before NBN Co's satellite service has launched in 2015. NBN Co said that as the licence holder, it will now be in a position to discuss renewing these licences with the ACMA.

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

About

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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Talkback

100 comments
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  • Well before the usual suspects start...

    Me, as an avid NBN supporter would suggest they probably overpaid for it.

    Well after all they were dealing with a profit driven, privately owned company, who have no thoughts for anything but dollars - who know NBNCo need what they have and will make them pay accordingly.

    Either that or AAPT are great guys and gals who did NBNCO a good deal and to hell with profits, just to help Australia... yeees!
    Beta-9f71a
    • "a profit driven, privately owned company, who have no thoughts for anything but dollars"

      Ahh yes, anathema to socialists like you.

      Thankfully, Australia is still free enough for free enterprise to flourish, something that you clearly do not understand and your Marxist idiocy cannot fathom. Let me explain:

      Anybody who goes into business does so to MAKE MONEY. Something that overpaid and lazy wage earners like you are unable understand...
      Frergers
      • *LMFAO*

        Come in spinner...!
        Beta-9f71a
      • Ah yes, free enterprise, proud sponsors of the Euro meltdown, the 3rd world US and the MPAA carpetbaggers, a real paradise Frerg, real paradise... pop off to the Ivy and suck up to a few playas, theres a good dufus...
        btone-c5d11
        • +1000...!!!!
          Beta-9f71a
        • Why don't you go and live in China?... there you can be happy assembling iPhones.....

          Who do you work for?... or are you just another pot smoking socialist dole bludger?
          Nplat
          • No need to chuck a radcon tantrum, Nplat.

            I think the point btone was simply making is that, people need to open their eyes to the fact that the system we live under has it's faults too, as clearly proven by events such as the GFC.
            Beta-9f71a
  • Beta, Perhaps more of interest that aapt is wholly owned by Telecom NZ.
    Although if you have something valuable I think most people would seek to sell at a profit. Especially if someone (NBN Co) wants what you have (spectrum licences).
    Knowledge Expert
    • Indeed good point...

      A separated (x3) Telecom NZ to boot, iirc...!

      The Kiwi's did it.
      Beta-9f71a
  • Knowing how much the NBN paid for it's prior spectrum would prejudice any future purchases.
    Paul Krueger
    • What are you doing, introducing facts into the debate? That's just not sporting!

      It is nauseating to see the Libs sneer at the notion of commercial in confidence information, when they are the ones who are supposed to understand how businesses work in the real world.
      Gwyntaglaw
  • "The spectrum licences that NBN Co bought from AAPT are set to expire before NBN Co's satellite service has launched in 2015. NBN Co said that as the licence holder, it will now be in a position to discuss renewing these licences with the ACMA."

    Well, thats really good business sense! There is no guarantee that the ACMA will renew those licenses to NBN.co, particularly if another party can show they will actually use them, rather than NBN.co's pie in the sky promises - just how FAR behind is the NBN now??? - thus far NBN.co have showed they are unable to deliver. Better hurry up and get some rockets into space and get this thing going NOW.
    FrankieBaby-46c93
    • "There is no guarantee that the ACMA will renew those licenses to NBN.co," ACMA has not turned down any renewals yet why would they start.
      "Better hurry up and get some rockets into space and get this thing going NOW." They have to build the Sats first.
      SW_Victoria
  • "ACMA has not turned down any renewals yet why would they start."

    Their role it to allocate the licenses to whoever can show that they are able to provide the services to use them. Were some company who actually CAN compete for them, the ACMA would be obliged to hand the licenses to them, although one must admit that since this government has managed to scare off any investment in this country's communications infrastruction with the communist NBN, that's highly unlikely.

    "They have to build the Sats first." - Why am I not surprised?
    FrankieBaby-46c93
    • > "They have to build the Sats first." - Why am I not surprised?

      What do they do on your planet, Frankie? Perhaps there they have a nice line in off-the-rack satellites there.
      Gwyntaglaw
      • I believe on planet "conservativia" they currently have pigeons but are working on a really large ball of string ;-)
        Beta-9f71a
      • So you will be happy with the 12Mbps that these $620million satellites will provide? If those who receive this should be happy, then so should the rest of Australia with the same. C'mon, show your true socialist colors and agree!
        Frergers
        • I currently pay for 20Mbps ADSL2+ and receive just under 6. So the country folk will be receiving a service twice as good to the one I (an urban dweller) currently get, DERP.

          Tell us again 'WHICH BANK" is paying for the NBN...ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Beta-9f71a
          • So what makes you think that an urban dweller should be more privileged?

            C'mon, answer the questions you spineless internet wannabe.
            Frergers
          • You say ye urban dweller should be, because YOU want private companies to roll out and they will only do so in the cities... derp

            WHICH BANK...LOL?
            Beta-9f71a