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TPG slapped down by TIO in access dispute

After a six-month battle, Megaport has won the right to install equipment for its customers in Pipe's Brisbane datacentre.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Growing telecommunications giant TPG has been slapped down by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman after it sought to prevent Asia-Pacific interconnection company Megaport from being able to access Pipe's datacentres.

In January, Megaport founder Bevan Slattery told customers that the company had suspended taking new orders into Pipe's datacentres in Brisbane and Fortitude Valley in Queensland because TPG had been claiming that Pipe's customers, such as Megaport, were not occupiers of the datacentre, and therefore could not use Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act to access the datacentres.

TPG took over Pipe Networks in 2010, shortly before Slattery resigned as CEO.

After Megaport made a number of attempts to gain access to Pipe's datacentre, the company took the case to the TIO in January to make a determination on whether the company could enter and install equipment in its datacentre.

Pipe had sought to argue that the equipment Megaport wanted to install could not be considered "low-impact" as required under law, but the TIO ruled that Megaport's equipment was not exceptional compared to other low-impact installations, and it was not the role of the TIO to determine what sort of equipment should be installed.

Pipe also sought to argue that it was the sole tenant of the Brisbane facility, and customers with equipment in Pipe's datacentre were not occupiers as defined in law.

The TIO ruled that a customer in the datacentre is also an occupier of that space in the datacentre.

"In my view the rights provided do result in PIPE customers being occupiers for the purpose of the determination," the TIO said.

Ultimately all of Pipe's arguments against Megaport's access request were rejected by the Ombudsman.

In a blog post yesterday, Slattery welcomed the decision by the TIO, but said the case was representative of a wider industry problem.

"The sad part of this situation is that Pipe/TPG's position isn't isolated and that Megaport is finding that non-independent datacentre operators usually operated by carriers are attempting to frustrate Megaport's entry into the market," he said.

"Independent datacentre operators welcome Megaport with open arms and understand the value we bring to their ecosystems. It's important for organisations that are looking for colocation to look beyond 'price' and consider whether they should put their IT infrastructure in a thriving independent ecosystem or in a zombie carrier datacentre — the 'undead' of colocation."

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