news The National Broadband Network Company this morning revealed some 27 wholesale customers — generally retail Internet service providers, including major market players Telstra and Optus — had signed its permanent Wholesale Broadband Agreement that will shape the way they work with the company. However, at least one major ISP — iiNet, has reportedly refused to sign.
NBN Co’s WBA specifies the commercial arrangements and obligations between NBN Co and its customers. The details include verifying information about products supplied by NBN Co, locking in of existing prices, detailing of service level agreements and so on. Along with NBN Co’s Special Acces Undertaking document with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the document enshrines in a contract the way retail ISPs will work with NBN Co. The new WBA will be fully operational from 1 March 2014.
NBN Co’s Head of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Analysis, Caroline Lovell said in a statement: “The new WBA was achieved after two years of engagement with industry to develop terms of supply of NBN Co fibre-to-the-premises and wireless based services, and follows the ACCC’s acceptance of NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking.Significant progress has been made in the development and execution of NBN Co’s new supply arrangements and NBN Co thanks customers for their engagement in relation to the new WBA.”
The new WBA includes a range of enhancements for access seekers, according to NBN Co, as well as greater clarity and consistency. NBN Co said it would continue to engage with industry in 2014 as it implements the new WBA and works to further develop its terms in light of ongoing operational experience. NBN Co said that it also looks forward to working with industry to develop supply terms that may be required for the delivery of services using additional technology.
The development of NBN Co’s WBA has not been an easy process for NBN Co, with various major telco players, including Telstra and iiNet, signalling their displeasure with the document at various stages. In July 2013, for example, the nation’s number three fixed line telco iiNet has publicly threatened to walk away from its relationship with NBN Co, in a move which would mean NBN services would no longer be available through the telco.
“NBN Co needs us more than we need them and that is not portrayed in any way by their attitude,” said iiNet regulatory chief Steve Dalby at the time. “If nobody signs their [wholesale broadband agreement] and nobody agrees with their [special access undertaking] and they have no success as a business then they’re f—ed.”
Up until now, the telcos have been operating on the basis of an interim agreement with NBN Co which most signed in early 2012.
After the publication of this article, it was reported by iTNews (we recommend that you click here for that site’s article on this topic, it has a lot of detail on why iiNet has not signed) that at least one major NBN retail ISP, iiNet, had refused to sign the new WBA. The news is significant as iiNet has taken a large chunk of NBN connections thus far.