$300 gets 12 months wholesale NBN

Twelve months access to the Tasmanian NBN cable will cost internet service providers $300, according to Mike Quigley, chief executive officer of NBN Co.
Written by Ben Grubb, Contributor

Twelve months access to the Tasmanian NBN cable will cost internet service providers $300, according to Mike Quigley, chief executive officer of NBN Co.

Mike Quigley

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley
(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet Australia)

"This is the first implementation in Tasmania of a limited number of premises, and for that stage one activity we agreed [on] an interim price for a fixed period of time to help defray the costs of these retail service providers who are cooperating with us in a very first instance of this type of service," NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said in a budget estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.

"There's a connection fee of $300 I believe," Quigley said. That price would give retail internet service providers 12 months access to fibre being rolled out to premises in Tasmania from 1 July, he said. "They will move onto the overall national pricing, which will be part of a special access undertaking by the ACCC in July of next year," Quigley said.

The decision to charge $300 was made by NBN Co's marketing people internally, Quigley said, and there was "nothing particularly scientific" about the figure.

He said the $300 cost would help "defray" provider's costs of setting up what is "a brand new service in a limited geographic location for a limited amount of time".

Stage one, announced in December, would see the Tasmanian towns of Smithton, Midway Point and Scottsdale connected up to the NBN. There would be 4000 premises connected in stage one.

Quigley also revealed that a business plan the NBN Co had been in the process of creating would be handed to the Federal Government shortly. However, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the government wouldn't release it to the public.

"It does not release the business plan of Australia Post, it never released the business plan of Telstra, and it is absurd to suggest or even think it's going to happen that the business plan of NBN Co will be released publicly by the government."

Conroy also announced a proposal to move the start date of the mandate that all greenfields estates be connected with fibre, not copper, from 1 July this year to 1 January 2011. He blamed the date change on "filibustering" from the opposition.

He said he'd been in discussions with housing groups and Telstra, which has indicated that it will stop laying copper.

"Discussions that we've been having with Telstra and with the housing industry are to ensure that a fixed line is put in place," he said.

Conroy said there'd been some argument that Telstra might decide to put wireless into place instead of copper. "I'm not sure that meets the universal service obligation and we're seeking advice on that," he said. "We don't accept an argument that a wireless service with no trenching is going to meet a universal service obligation."

Whatever happened, there would be trenching, he said. "We're not going to allow the situation that no trenching and ducting is put in place."

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