Telstra seeks reprieve for NBN greenfields

Telstra seeks reprieve for NBN greenfields

Summary: Telstra has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be released from its obligation to provide wholesale voice services to competitors in National Broadband Network (NBN) greenfield sites.

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Telstra has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be released from its obligation to provide wholesale voice services to competitors in National Broadband Network (NBN) greenfield sites.

The ACCC has today sought comment from industry and the public on whether a one-year exemption from the obligation to provide wholesale voice services in the NBN greenfield areas should be allowed, because Telstra is still working on wholesale voice products to provide over NBN fibre.

Under the current universal service obligations, Telstra is obliged to connect up new housing estates with less than 100 premises — and is generally doing so with copper — but for estates with more than 100, NBN Co is the fibre provider of last resort and will roll-out fibre to these premises.

It is in the latter areas that Telstra would seek a temporary exemption. Telstra has said it will have its wholesale and retail NBN services available by September this year, but is pushing for a reprieve from its wholesale voice obligations until March 2013.

NBN Co is still in the process of developing a voice product for the NBN; however, a number of retail service providers, such as Internode, have not at this stage offered stand-alone voice services, instead offering VoIP products that are bundled in with internet plans. Telstra's NBN plans bundled with a fixed line currently require customers to retain their voice service on the copper line. Primus has said it is working with NBN Co to develop a voice-only product for those residents who don't want an internet connection. It is understood that only around 4000 services will be active in NBN greenfields areas by September, and the issue is only expected to affect a minority of those, given that most would opt to either get a service with their own internet service provider, or to go without a fixed-voice service.

Taking all that into account, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he is inclined to let Telstra have a temporary reprieve.

"The ACCC notes the apparent limited impact of this proposed variation in NBN greenfield estates in terms of both the affected number of end users and its time frame," he said. "The ACCC's provisional view is to favourably consider Telstra's request."

Submissions are open until 11 May 2012.

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

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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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16 comments
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  • We (and Telstra) now have this ridiculous situation, whereby Telstra is still being enforced to install out of date infrastructure, when shortly it will have no obligation to any such thing. The Gillard Government and the ACCC, need to start getting real on these issues and force NBN Co, to get off its lazy backside and do what it supposed to do. Senator Conroy has made a dog's breakfast of the entire situation, but is an incompetent minister resposnible for an important project. Conroy may want to run this project, but he is clearly not up to the job required.
    Paul the Prophet
    • Agree Paul, it does seem ridiculous to install out of date/obsolete/superseded infrastructure.

      But then, the opposition swears FTTN, which needs to utilise such out of date/obsolete/superseded infrastructure is the way to go, so this fits in with their plans ;-)

      Disclaimer: the above was facetious. So before the usual suspects start, I believe the opposition plan is to run fibre (FTTH) in greenfields.

      Funny though, they can see the need for FTTH there but not elsewhere?
      Beta-9f71a
      • "Funny though, they can see the need for FTTH there but not elsewhere?"

        It all makes sense in the coalition clown world. Ask Turnbull what apps require FTTH in greenfields and he wont have an answer, this dummy can't see a need for anything faster than ADSL2+ but endorses FTTH for greenfields, but why? Logic would suggest that it's cheaper so (A why not replace the copper in brownfields which will need replacing anyway or B) use wireless for greenfield estates as that would be even cheaper than fibre, have the benefit of using a "mix of technologies" for the sake of using a mix of technologies AND it would fit in perfectly with their "everyone is dumping fixed for wireless because wireless is the future" mantra.
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • Hubert, it is reasonable to consider that the number of wireless devices will outpace a fixed Internet connection, mostly because within a household most members will have a wireless device and the house will have one fixed connection. My view these technologies are complementary, and as others have pointed out in the home many use wireless to link to the house fixed connection because it makes a house LAN installation really easy.
          Knowledge Expert
          • "Hubert, it is reasonable to consider that the number of wireless devices will outpace a fixed Internet connection"

            Population > Premises. News at 11. That doesn't mean people will end up using wireless exclusively which is what the coalition clowns would have you believe.



            "and as others have pointed out in the home many use wireless to link to the house fixed connection because it makes a house LAN installation really easy."

            I'm one of the ones that points that out and it is completely different. I am talking about wireless for your internet connection to your ISP not your LAN here. Try to pay attention.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Hubert, I think the number of people using wireless to directly connect to an ISP will outstrip fixed connections, they will also use the wifi at home. The technologies are complemtary.
            Knowledge Expert
          • No one is saying they are not complimentary, the argument the coalition have put forward is that people will ditch fixed for wireless and that is just plain wrong, there simply is no proof whatsoever to back up the claim.

            Also it seems you are incapable of reading so I will reiterate the point again: population > premises. There is always going to be more people than premises so the number to compare is what percentage of people vs what percentage of premises have wireless only vs fixed only. You do not compare the plain numbers (as has previously happened) and then claim a "win" for wireless, it simply does not work that way.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Hubert, I understood what you meant about the number of devices. My point is the number of wireless vs fixed devices is not a competition. The number of wireless devices in use will be much greater than fixed devices. Free wifi hot spots will further increase usage of wireless. The high data applications, movies and the like will mostly be carried on the fixed network.
            Knowledge Expert
          • "Hubert, I understood what you meant about the number of devices."

            Clearly you don’t because you keep posting crap…


            "My point is the number of wireless vs fixed devices is not a competition."

            Then you've completely missed the point of this, go back and read my first comment, it says nothing about competition at all. You seem to be forgetting about the dummy who said "The internet is becoming a wireless internet." that statement is complete rubbish and it has NOTHING to do with how many wireless devices there are or how many wireless internet connections there are, that statistic is meaningless. As long as fixed line is always faster (as it most likely will be) it will always be a FIXED line based internet. Using a wireless device on fixed line (fibre/adsl2+ etc) via wifi does NOT count. If anything that means people will actually be using fixed line more not less.




            "The number of wireless devices in use will be much greater than fixed devices."

            Once again that statement is meaningless unless you take into consideration percentages not only that but you seem to be conflating two different things here. Fixed devices? What are you trying to say here that there will be more wireless devices than fixed line connections? No argument there. There will be more wireless devices than PCs? No argument there either, now what are those wireless devices using to connect to the internet? Fixed line.You fail…

            “Free wifi hot spots will further increase usage of wireless.”

            All that is are wireless devices using FIXED lines and increases usage of FIXED lines… oh and how do you think these “Free wifi hot spots” will come about? Hint: more fibre connections. Better roll out the NBN as far as we can so we can enjoy more “Free wifi hot spots”.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Hubert, I did review the previous comments. My first response to you was aligned to your post and I did attempt to add another dimension to the thread. I did not dispute the need for fixed connections, and made the point the increased number of wireless devices will exploit the roll out of NBN.
            Knowledge Expert
    • Paul, I am not really sure of the point you are making. I agree it makes no sense to force Telstra to install obsolete equipment in green fields sites. It would more sense for NBN to roll out fibre to those sites.
      Knowledge Expert
      • @ Doubt.

        I don't know what the story is in relation to current greenfields rollout liability (see I will admit when I don't know).

        But if Telstra are still liable for installation (or are being funded to supply installation?) why would NBNCo (or the poor hurting taxpayer - *sarcasm*) not only pay twice, but actually do it for Telstra?

        Now that WOULD be wasteful, would it not?
        Beta-9f71a
        • Beta, my understanding is Telstra is moving out of the "last mile" business. That will be NBN Co's patch. Any green fields from this time should be cabled by NBN.
          Knowledge Expert
  • Yes Telstra is, great isn't it? Long overdue, nice job to all involved ;-)

    But my point is (and again I don't know the nitty gritty) if they have already been paid to perform these tasks and/or it is part of their current PSTN ownership requirements, perhaps they need to renegotiate (so another 12 months of BS) or hand back any funding or just do it and do it properly.

    Surely there isn't a clause saying it must be copper?

    So let's face it, Telstra if being subsidised to provide these services, could choose to supply fibre, but are choosing copper possibly because they will receive compensation when their customers are migrated to the NBN. Or they don't want competitors accessing fibre and maybe getting an early foot in the NBN door.

    So are they knowingly installing obsolete copper to get their snouts further in the profits trough, stifling competition? Well whether they are or aren't, they are again 'putting customers last, as a consequence'?

    Remember the South Brisbane exchange and all the BS there? Well I dunno, but this seems to reek of more Telstra games, to me.
    Beta-9f71a
    • Beta your spot on when you observe 'but this seems to reek of more Telstra games, to me.'

      They (Telstra management) screw the public, obfuscate, manipulate & generally ignore the public to suit their own ends.

      If they're going to waste money installing copper, they should be forced to install fibre in the first place. It makes sense, but Telstra don't like making sense. If they can stall & waste money & time to suit their own ends, they will do it every time. To hell with the public & common sense!.

      Nothing has really changed!

      We finish up paying through the nose!
      Huntsman.ks
  • Keith Styles says:
    Beta your spot on when you observe 'but this seems to reek of more Telstra games, to me.'
    Both these posts are spot on. As well, if Testra is required to build a greenfield area (under 100 houses) and supply a phone and/or internet service, they would then have to release their plans for an NBN only service. It seems they do not want to do this just, because they are making so much money from line (copper) rental. Once they start providing a VIOP service over the fibre, this price/service will show up all their other over rated, overpriced services.
    Remember, their new NBN plans still require a customer to retain the copper line for their phone calls, even when using the fibre for the internet.
    It seems Telstra has not yet discovered VIOP like technologies or proven its quality of delivery for phone calls.

    The ACCC has just given Foxtel the right to buy Austar, so pay TV only now has 1 provider. Telstra own 50% of Foxtel.
    Telstra has won a big part of the market here.
    The ACCC should now do something for the rest of the industry and level the playing field a bit.
    Change the Points of Interconnect from 121 back to the NBN's original 12. This will enable the small players to enter the game. And force Telstra to fibre all new greenfield areas as they are getting paid for it now.
    Goldie248