ACCC kills NBN/Telstra wireless clause


blog The Australian newspaper reported yesterday that the national competition regulator has killed a clause in Telstra’s $11 billion deal with NBN Co which would have prohibited Telstra from marketing wireless broadband as an alternative to the NBN’s fibre. The Australian reports ACCC chairman Rod Sims as saying (click here for the full article):

“We couldn’t live with it,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said yesterday. “They’ve changed that,” he told The Weekend Australian.

I have always argued that this clause was an example of an uncompetitive imposition on Australia’s telecommunications market, and it appears the ACCC agrees. I’m glad to see common sense has prevailed in this one. There must be limits to NBN Co’s monopoly.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. I don’t know why they bothered putting it in there to begin with, unless to stop potentially shonky marketing attempts by Telstra salespeople.

      • I think it was just something that *hoped* they could get in, but didn’t…

        It’s like any normal sales deal – you have to put some stuff in in the hope you’ll get it, but have room to move downwards. They were gambling on that clause being accepted.

        You win some, you lose some.

        • To be honest, NBN must have been smoking some hard stuff if they were hoping there was any chance of such a clause being accepted by the ACCC

          • LOL

            how many businesses do you know whose financial survival depends on taxpayers funding the buying out of ALL COMPETITION and legislating to prevent competitors from entering the market?


          • Irrelevant to the discussion.

            I’m merely pointing out that it is common business practice to “go in high”, knowing that some things won’t get into a final deal, but hoping they will.

            Very. Common.

          • ‘I’m merely pointing out that it is common business practice to “go in high”, knowing that some things won’t get into a final deal,”

            Perhaps the NBN Co went ‘high’ on the uptake and ROI figures in the Business Plan as well.

          • That’s interesting – aren’t you one of the most fervent proclaimers of how NBN Co should be held to bear “normal” business machinations?

            So, it’s now not a normal business?

          • No it’s nowhere near to being a normal business, unless you figure having taxpayer $$ to shut down infrastructure competitors is what private business do every day.

          • Wow! You’re both admitting it’s not a normal business, while constantly espousing that it needs to follow “normal” paradigms.

            Well, I never.

    • the answer’s right here in the “Attachment B – Questions Regarding DAs” posted on the ACCC website:

      “The parties’ agreement concerning the restriction on Telstra promoting wireless services as substitutable for fibre services was NOT struck in light of the CCA provisions regarding misleading and deceptive conduct. That agreement was considered to be appropriate by the parties in the context of structuring the transaction as a disconnection arrangement.”

      “From NBN Co’s perspective the payment to Telstra of a PSAA for the disconnection of copper and HFC premises without the restrictions on promotion of wireless services as substitutable for fibre services and the wireless substitution provisions would, in NBN Co’s opinion, create significant commercial incentives for Telstra to migrate their customers to the Telstra Next-G wireless networks…… Telstra’s ability to support a large number of customers on its wireless network is further enhanced through its ability to leverage recently remediated infrastructure (for the NBN Co roll-out) to deploy additional base stations and new wireless technologies such as LTE.”

      i know it’s fun to engage in corporate slander and cast negative aspersions at Telstra at every opportunity, but NBNco themselves told the ACCC that the “wireless marketing” clause had NOTHING to do with “misleading advertising”.

      instead, NBNco attempted to foist the grossly anti-competitive “wireless clause” on Telstra because they are afraid that many households will cut the cord entirely (as is happening in the US with 30% of residences with no fixed-line connection) and switch to wireless broadband for their internet browsing needs.

      all this is straight from NBNco’s mouth. but, hey, don’t let facts get in the way of hearty government monopoly cheerleading.

      • as is happening in the US with 30% of residences with no fixed-line connection

        Quoting statistics for telephone service as if it has any relevance to internet usage?

        But, hey, don’t let facts get in the way of making stuff up to suit your agenda. I mean, I know it’s fun to engage in government slander and cast negative aspersions at NBNCo at every opportunity, but at least try to stay relevant.

  2. We’re shutting down every other fixed-line network (so that they don’t compete with the NBN), but it’s fine for telcos to claim that wireless services compete with the NBN? I think I can see where this is going, and I don’t like it.

      • It’s a truism today and we don’t even have the NBN yet, wireless internet connections passed almost static DSL connections for the first time in the latest ABS statistics release, it is only ever upwards from here.

        • No shit they passed fixed line servers. If I took a a poll of 1 house with 4 adults.

          Ok how many fixed line ADLS services do you have in this house?
          ok how many wireless broadband services do you have in this house?
          Oh why is it that you have 3?
          Because 3 of us have laptops and are on the go a lot.

        • Yes I know the reasons why more mobile Internet connections are flooding past almost static DSL.

          • Because I can?


            Here it is again but with more detail – from the ABS Stats Internet Activity – September 2011:

            ‘Mobile wireless internet (excluding mobile handset) connections (44%) now exceed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections (41%) in Australia. Mobile wireless (excluding mobile handset connections) was the fastest growing internet access technology in actual numbers, increasing from 4.2 million in December 2010 to 4.8 million in June 2011.’

            Wireless data ARPU’s crap all over fixed line, 7% ROI on the NBN? – tell ’em they’re dreaming.

          • You do know what a ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is I hope, it is not a measure of download sizes.

          • Alian:

            Repeat after me:

            “There are 12 million PREMISES in Australia into which a single fixed line service can be installed, therefore, the most that can be sold to people is approximately 12 million in total.”

            “There are 22 million PEOPLE in Australia into which multiple wireless services can be installed, therefore the most that can be sold to people is many times more than 12 million.”

            Every time you ignore this, you look more like a fool with your statistics.

          • BTW Here are some more trending statistics for you and the pro-NBN Glee Club to digest.

            ‘However, a significant proportion of the Australian adult population (19 per cent) is now without a
            fixed-line home telephone.’


            Have a look at the PDF Figure 1 Page 7.

            Look at the red fixed line telephone trend from June 2008 – June 2011.

            This is what the fixed line build NBN FTTH is facing, a build which won’t be completed until 2022, extrapolate the red trend line to 2022, and you wonder why the NBN Co wanted that wireless clause in the Telstra agreement?

          • Yep, mobile connections increasing. Not surprising with smart phones becoming the norm.
            You seemed to not post that fixed line is increasing also. Or you prefered to show it as a ratio to mobile because it made it seem like fixed line was declining?

          • Still quoting numbers for telephony as if it has any relevance to internet usage?

            Still quoting percentages as they have any relevance to anything?

            Why do you even bother any more?

          • *sigh* That’s talking about fixed line TELEPHONE not fixed line BROADBAND.

            Sure they use the same things but you can actually get your phone service disconnected and keep your ADSL connection.

            It’s like my house, I don’t have a fixed line TELEPHONE service. But I do have a fixed line BROADBAND service.

          • What is it you two don’t understand about this statement?

            ‘The emergence of a mobile-only population in Australia. Young adults, those in share housing and low income households are the most likely to live without a fixed-line connection and rely solely on their mobile phone.
            The continuing decline in fixed-line services. Households without a fixed-line increased by three percentage points, accounting for 19 per cent of people aged over 18 years.’



            I don’t know. You tell me. You do know they are talking about a telephone connection no broadband right?

          • Ok actually looking at the PDF now.

            When ‘fixed-line’ is talked about they are actually talking about fixed-line voice services. As opposed to mobile voice services

            And if you look at the graph on page 7. It is showing Fixed-line telephone, Mobile phone and Home internet

            Fixed-line telephone is on the decline. But Mobile phone and Home internet are on the rise.

            And if you look at the note underneath it.

            Note: Fixed-line telephone services include VoIP where the service is accessed via a standard handset and excludes services accessed
            via a computer. Home internet includes all service types except mobile handset internet. Base population also includes consumers in
            households without a fixed-line telephone and/or no mobile phone”

            So yeah Home Internet in this case is Fixed-line Broadband and the graph shows it’s on the rise.

            Fixed-line telephone is on the decline as more and more people move to mobile telephone for there voice services.

          • need to proof read before posting

            “So yeah Home Internet in this case is Fixed-line Broadband and the graph shows it’s on the rise.”
            should read
            “So yeah Home Internet in this case includes Fixed-line Broadband and the graph shows it’s on the rise.”

          • I think I am have a pretty typical setup. Baring I didn’t go naked. Bundled plans offered better quota for the same price.

            1 ADSL2+ fixed connection that does the bulk of the work.
            4 Mobile connections, Kindle 3G, 2 Mobiles, 1 Dongle in case of outages probably will not use since mobile now has tethering.
            1 Fixed line phone I never use as I have prepaid calls on my mobile and it works out cheaper just to use them.

            Fixed line usage about 60GB a month.
            Mobile usage a few hundred MB.

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