Optus provides wholesale access to all 121 NBN POIs, signs SpinTel

Wholesalers using Optus' network will be able to provide residential customers with broadband from all 121 NBN POIs.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced that its wholesale residential National Broadband Network (NBN) product now offers access to all 121 points of interconnect (POIs), with the telecommunications provider also signing a deal to provide wholesale access to SpinTel's residential broadband customers.

Optus provides Layer 2 wholesale aggregation to the 121 POIs, along with access technologies available from NBN, allowing smaller service providers to provide NBN services across Australia without having to build out their own infrastructure.

"As the NBN surpasses more than 1 million households nationally, partners want access to that market via a single, carrier-grade network without an exhaustive investment outlay," Optus Wholesale head of Marketing and Strategy John Castro said.

Optus has also deployed a series of customer service improvements to support the wholesale residential product, including investing in back-end automation.

"We know the importance of a great customer experience, and have invested in a range of technology platforms that will improve service connections and the management of faults, which will result in cost efficiencies and customer experience benefits," Castro added.

Competitor Vocus Communications -- which also offers smaller telcos wholesale access to NBN's POIs through its NBN Connect product -- last week announced that its proposed acquisition of Nextgen Networks would put it "in a class with Optus" in terms of both fibre infrastructure and access to 112 POIs.

In what CEO Geoff Horth called the "final piece of the puzzle", by taking ownership of Nextgen's extensive long-haul fibre network, Vocus will attain presence across regional areas as well as gaining 112 POIs.

"We think it would be highly unlikely that anyone would ever build a AU$1.2 billion inter-capital network around Australia again, so we sort of class this as a bit of an invaluable asset in that respect," executive director James Spenceley said.

"And given its scale and reach, we put it in a class of Optus in terms of a comparison in infrastructure reach and breadth, and it really places us sort of in that -- give or take -- around the second infrastructure reach in the country now, combined with the Vocus business.

"We could be number two in terms of people connecting to POIs, maybe number three."

According to Horth, Vocus, which has so far raised AU$432 million for its Nextgen acquisition through an institutional entitlement and institutional placement of shares, had access to between 50 and 60 POIs previously. Under the acquisition, it will reach 112 NBN POIs.

This will allow the company to service its residential and wholesale customers with "significantly more bandwidth", Horth said.

Optus has been facing increased competition in the fixed-line space from Vocus, following the latter's merger with M2 earlier this year to form a telco worth AU$3 billion, bringing it closer to Telstra, TPG, and Optus.

During its results for FY15, Optus reported its total wholesale fixed services business being down by 1.1 percent for the year, to AU$649 million. Of this revenue, AU$236 million was from data and IP, AU$130 million was from voice, and AU$283 million came from satellite.

Optus' wholesale mobile services were also affected when Vodafone Australia last year signed a AU$1 billion deal with TPG, part of which involved shifting TPG's 320,000 mobile customers from Optus to Vodafone.

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