NBN/Telstra deal could be six months late


blog It’s extremely hard to see this as a surprise, given the fact that NBN Co’s previous delay with Telstra was extensively delayed, and given that as late as mid-January the pair had not even begun talking, but the Financial Review reported today that NBN Co’s negotiations with the nation’s largest telco Telstra over access to its copper and HFC cable networks could run up to six months late. Yup. The newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“… the deal’s complexity, disagreements over key points and pending wide-ranging reviews meant that neither side expected a full deal to be done until the final months of 2014 at best, prolonging the uncertainty for six months.”

Now, to be fair to the Coalition Government, NBN Co’s Strategic Review published last year stated that the company anticipated that it would be in a position to begin the transition to the so-called “Optimised Multi-Technology Mix” (which requires access to Telstra’s HFC and copper networks) from calendar year 2015. “As a consequence, the existing Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) rollout in the fixed-line footprint will continue throughout calendar 2014,” the document states.

This means that it isn’t necessarily a huge problem for NBN Co not to have finalised its arrangements with Telstra to get access to its networks until later in 2014. However, any delays that the talks do see will still be damaging for Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, given how much the Minister has complained in the past about the slow nature of Labor’s previous NBN rollout. And it shows that, Labor or Coalition, this is still a massively complex project which Telstra is not willing to get involved with unless it’s on the right terms.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. It was always going to happen. Turnbull was just projecting his imagination as best he could to try and convince people that he could make it happen faster.

    Labor only had to get access to the pits, pipes, ducts and other building related stuff, though i’m sure they could have dug holes in the ground and bypassed that whole issue thus taking Telstra out of the loop completely.

    Turnbull on the other hand, he has to deal with the copper itself too, you can bet that Telstra will maximise as much as possible and ensure they come out on top with this one, i wouldn’t be surprised if overall delay is to mid next year.

  2. Turnbull has systematically broken EVERY promise on the NBN!

    Lets look at all the coverage in the Mainstream media *Crickets*

    ABC *Crickets* (Not surprising now Malcolm has set up a backroom deal for ABC to not criticise his NBN)

    It will cost MORE for the MTM than FttP That much is clear now there is only ~$10 billion difference between the MTM and similar FttP network with the extra cost for the copper there will be no difference.

  3. It wouldn’t be a big issue… except that Turnbull has already committed NBNCo to the MTM that they can’t start on until next year & haven’t finished negotiations for… any idea that “might” get FTTN or HFC is now unlikely to see any movement this year. So in effect, they’re simply delaying the whole project.

  4. “As a consequence, the existing Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) rollout in the fixed-line footprint will continue throughout calendar 2014,”

    Well that’s turned out to be completely mostly false. Greg Adcock at the last senate committee hearing continually stated NBNco were not actively designing anything because they were waiting on the agreement with Telstra. From what I could gather they were only finishing existing work.

        • I gather those FSAMs that have been added are just the ones that were already marked as “Construction Commenced” (meaning design was underway) on the old NBNCo progress maps. The design has progressed, and they’ve now actually started pulling fibre, so they magically reappear on the NBNCo maps as “Build Commenced”.

          What we still don’t know is whether design has started for any areas that weren’t already started prior to the election. The comments above would suggest not, but the ‘added’ FSAMs might include some that weren’t on the previous “Construction Commenced” list.

          What would be really, really useful (and, you know, transparent & accountable) would be for NBNCo to add a “Design Commenced” category to their FSAM listings / maps, so people know which areas are currently “in progress”, even if they haven’t progressed to the point of laying fibre.

          Of course, the Noalition don’t want that, because it might make it politically difficult for them to push those areas over to HFC or FTTN service, if people have seen info saying design for FTTP has started.

          In my case, I was in the “1-year” area previously, due to “commence construction” by Sep 2014. It remains to be see whether they’ll ever design FTTP for my suburb, or just say “You’ve got HFC, sure it may only deliver 5Mbps in busy periods, and upload speeds are complete rubbish, but you’re now officially on the NBN”.

  5. Ok, so no agreement until 2015 and existing FTTP deployments given the ‘go slow’ in the meantime; probably so they can convert existing scoped FTTP to FTTN?

  6. “25 Mbps to all premises by the end of 2016…”


    How long before cheaper goes?

    • About as long as it takes Telstra to respond with the ransom demand for the CAN.

      To be fair, they do still own it. There is a reason only incumbents are deploying FTTN.

  7. Delaying it til the next election, I doubt this mob understand why what they are doing is disgusting the Australian people so much Apparently ideology is the new morals when you’re a sociopath.

  8. Quite frankly, I think Turnbull at least., perhaps the whole LNP, are just preying MTM *doesn’t* get significantly rolled out before the next election. I don’t think it’s going to hit the fan until they try to roll out NBN over HFC in large numbers, when the technical limitations of MTM will become obvious to everyone regardless of what lies are told.

  9. We told them so.

    We were right, during every moment of this slow motion trainwreck, and now all that is left is to watch the full horror of this moronic policy take effect over the rest of my fucking life as we’re set back 10 years by these idiots.

    • “now all that is left is to watch the full horror of this moronic policy take effect over the rest of my fucking life as we’re set back 10 years by these idiots.”

      This. x1000. The self-proclaimed “Infrastructure Prime Minister” is anything but.

    • As opposed to the 13 years of rot the telecommunications sector went through during the last Liberal reign of terror, leaving us in the very mess that brought about the NBN in the first place? Australians obviously just don’t care.

      • At least a quarter of a million of us cared enough to sign that petition. Given the low takeup rate of such things normally, that’s a phenomenal level of support.
        More traditional opinion polls support & continually reinforce that message, as Renai states in nearly every article he writes on the CBN.

  10. If this debacle was so laughable it would make you cry, it has got to the point that farce is too kind a word for what is happening here.


  11. As I pointed out when the NBN Review was released in December: https://twitter.com/kofeyh/status/410963457723224064

    “This is a train crash in slow motion.”

    The wrecking shall continue, until morale improves.

    The stupid thing is, if Turnbull had stuck to his pre-election promise of FTTN as preference, FTTH where logical (eg greenfields) FTTB for MDUs, kept copper line length short and commanded NBNco and Telstra to come to rapid settlement, I could have at least accepted (not agreed with) the outcome.

    In other words, short run copper, remediate where needed and use FTTH where logical. Also to make FTTH an orderable solution for those prepared to pay the $2-3k to get it done.

    Instead we have this train wreck of unworkable proportions, Telstra is once again in a position of power and can extort the government for a (now) linchpin of the network, and HFC is included – which should NEVER have made the cut.

    The entire point of the NBN, beyond any massive speed and network improvements, was to effectively move infrastructure back to a wholesale only entity and force the separation Telstra has never managed to (or is inclined to) achieve.

    I am genuinely appalled at the condescension and arrogance of a Minister who is divorced from the process and is still actively engaged in it’s destruction and sell-off.

  12. Pfft, that’ll still leave them two years to finish a nationwide roll-out, what could go wrong??!

    • With Bill ‘Mr Fix-it’ Morrow, in charge, he’ll get it done no problems.

      Some may die, but that’s a risk he’s willing to take.

  13. http://www.zdnet.com/au/nbn-fibre-to-the-node-trials-delayed-7000030026/

    “”The Epping trial in Victoria has slowed down a bit, while we work with the utility there to find a power solution. We’re working through that,” he said.”

    The next act in the comedy/horror show begins.
    The Title is POWER to the people

    Cleese has such a dedicated fan base


    And who will control so much of the CBN?


    I wonder why?


    When Telstra has approx 70% of Broadband customers, guess who has the volume. ?

  14. Wel, well, well…

    Once again, where are all the FttP NBN, detractors now…

    Remember the one’s who would come here daily when the previous government were in power, to argue and nitpick over every little fucking thing and most importantly to tell us all how bad not running on time was…

    Yes the guys who demanded a CBA, called the NBN mismanaged because of hold-ups (such as the Telstra negotiations) and therefore called for Quigley’s head?

    Why aren’t they here doing it again and calling for more heads to roll…

    Oh that’s right, contrary to all their assurances that they weren’t politically motivated shills… post 7 Sept 2013 their posts slowed then stopped and there hasn’t been any such calls in regards to the current government or their self titled fraudband plan…

    :/ amazing

  15. Good Governance Went South once they stopped leveraging The Guillotine.

    Since then there’s been a supreme lack of consequences for Political Game Players.

    if only it were legal to Put Tony Abbott (and friends) in The Stocks where the rest of us could throw rotten fruit at them.

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