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Conroy FTTN demand puts Telstra spending on hold

Telstra has confirmed it will provide the government with the information it is seeking on the telco's broadband network -- and will put some of its investment on hold until after the fibre-to-the-node tender process is over.
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Written by Jo Best on

Telstra has confirmed it will provide the government with the information it is seeking on the telco's broadband network -- and will put some of its investment on hold until after the fibre-to-the-node tender process is over.

The announcement comes after Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy last week requested information from a number of telcos on their network assets, in order to provide the data to those companies planning to tender for the construction of Australia's fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network.

In a statement released to the ASX today, acting company secretary Claire Elliott said: "Telstra has responded to the Minister's request by proposing to provide a set of existing network information subject to security safeguards and the full indemnification of Telstra by the Commonwealth."

Telstra said the Minister's request centred around on information on the physical elements of the network, including the location of exchanges.

"We have a series of very strong protocols making sure that information doesn't fall into wrong set of hands," Telstra's head of regulatory affairs Dr Tony Warren said yesterday. "Being asked to share with all and sundry -- clearly we're not prepared to do that without the appropriate safeguards in place and we will be discussing with government to make sure those safeguards are in place."

A Telstra spokesperson said that the company would be seeking similar safeguards to those imposed during the T3 sale, such as data rooms, audit trails and strict protocols around who can take or copy the network information.

"We have a number of concerns about the information but our objective at this moment is very much to provide the information as quickly as we can, so the government and the country can get on with FTTN process," Telstra's Warren said.

The telco also revealed today that it expects the FTTN network to affect its own spending plans.

"In view of the FTTN process now commencing we will review current investment plans and it is likely that some investment will be put on hold until we know the outcome of the bid process."

Telstra said it will affect investment in areas where upgrades might be duplicated by the FTTN network -- but everyday maintenance won't be affected.

"We're not going to put people's services at risk -- we'll repair things when they break," Telstra's spokesperson said.

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