Turnbull announces Telstra-NBN copper deal

Telstra and NBN Co have signed an AU$150 million deal to rent copper, design and build a fibre to the node rollout to 206,000 premises in New South Wales and Queensland.

NBN Co will roll out fibre to the node to up to 200,000 premises with 1,000 nodes in parts of regional Queensland and New South Wales under an AU$150 million deal signed with Telstra.

Image: Alcatel Lucent

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today that the deal is an "interim step" in renegotiating the entire AU$11 billion definitive agreements between NBN Co, Telstra, and the government that would see NBN Co get wider access to Telstra's copper and HFC networks. Turnbull said the negotiations as "progressing well".

The trial will include Belmont, Boolaroo, Gorokan, Morisset, Hamilton, and Umina in New South Wales, and Caboolture, Bribie Island, Bundaberg, Warner, and Gympie in Queensland. The locations determined as part of the agreement were those that a broadband availability report found were "underserved" by broadband.

Telstra will be responsible for planning, design, and construction of the fibre-to-the-node network. As Telstra works to build the network, NBN Co will be working to finalise its FttN products for retail service providers.

There has already been a trial of fibre to the node technology in Umina , with more extensive trials delayed as a result of difficulty in negotiations with Telstra, and obtaining power sources for the fibre to the node trial in Melbourne.

Alcatel-Lucent boasts that the nodes it will be deploying in Australia are the "smallest possible", smaler than those used in Germany, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Belgium at 850mm x 1150mm x 500mm.

The company says each node supports up to 384 lines.

It comes as Turnbull had previously indicated that the overall NBN-Telstra deal would be finalised by the middle of 2014, and the NBN cost-benefit analysis would be completed by June. It is understood that the report will now not be released until July.