People who claim that NBN Co was ripped off when it closed the $120 million deal to buy 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum from Austar do not know the true value of the original OPEL deal, according to NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley.
When NBN Co announced the deal for the spectrum that the company intends to use for its high-speed fixed-wireless services last week, federal opposition communications spokespeople Malcolm Turnbull and Luke Hartsuyker both stated that the deal was far in excess of a $65 million arrangement nutted out for the now cancelled OPEL network, which the former Liberal Government intended to improve broadband coverage in rural areas and suburban blackspots.
Speaking at a Senate Estimates committee in Canberra last night, Quigley said that the publicised monetary value of the OPEL deal wasn't an accurate reflection of the total worth of the spectrum deal.
"There has been some misunderstandings about the price of that transaction ... the [OPEL] deal had both a cash and non-cash component. The non-cash component was not publicly disclosed, but it was received by way of various wholesale arrangements and delivered value to Austar substantially in excess of the cash component that was paid," Quigley said.
"So when comparing the OPEL deal with the transaction we completed, you need to look at the whole deal."
Quigley said that roughly 4 per cent of the country will be covered by wireless services, but stressed that it wouldn't be competing with existing mobile broadband providers because it was a fixed wireless service.