NBN Co must be split up and sold off to provide a platform for future infrastructure based competition, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Rod Sims says. Speaking at an industry event, Sims said the ACCC supports the Vertigan Panel’s focus on the benefits of infrastructure-based competition. “The ACCC has been a long-term advocate of efficient infrastructure-based competition as a means of delivering economic efficiency and benefits in the long-term interests of end users,” he said.
Nextgen Networks has stopped taking new connection orders for its NBN virtual connect product after claiming technical changes to be introduced by NBN Co would force it to spend big to change its infrastructure. Nextgen became the first to offer sub-wholesale products on the NBN in 2011. Its “NBN Connect” product suite offered retail service providers the fibre backhaul to connect Nextgen’s 90 national points of presence in data centres across the country with NBN Co’s planned 121 points of interconnect.
Financial regulator ASIC has lobbied the Government to expand the agency’s powers so it can receive telecommunications data from law enforcement bodies to aid in its efforts to combat financial crime. In a recently published submission to a parliamentary committee investigating financial-related crime, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission argued that the national broadband network would render existing sources of data – such as call records – obsolete.
NBN Co expects to have reached a deal to resign its $11.2 billion definitive agreements with Telstra by the end of the year, with the network builder’s chief executive today revealing the two had reached material agreement on the new contract. The Coalition Government had originally promised to have the historic renegotiation complete by mid-2014, but Telstra boss David Thodey recently said he expected the discussions to continue into 2015.
The Commonwealth Bank’s new CIO David Whiteing has offered up his thoughts on how the process of migrating users to the NBN could be improved, revealing security issues resulting from the connection of ATMs to the NBN. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month asked industry how the migration of users from copper services to the NBN could be fixed following difficulties with the first round of transfers.
NBN Co will make a commercial fibre-to-the-node product available to the market in the third quarter of next year, the national network builder revealed in an updated product roadmap today. The company will start business readiness testing for FTTN deployments in the second quarter of 2015, and will begin onboarding retail service providers (RSPs) at the same time. It has also extended the life of its FTTN pilot – which is currently made up of a 1000-node construction trial being conducted with Telstra in NSW and Queensland, and two end-user trials in Epping, Victoria and Umina, NSW – for a further 12 months, up until the expected launch of the service at around September 30 next year.
NBN Co has signed a new contractor in Tasmania as part of its effort to reduce the number of customers counted as passed by fibre but unable to order a service through the national broadband network. The national network builder earlier this month revealed it would appoint a second partner in the state alongside existing contractor Visionstream, as part of a renewed effort to target unserviceable premises.
NBN Co has quietly introduced a scheme that gives retail internet providers an incentive to supply customers with fibre connections without battery back-up units, despite warnings that consumers could be put at risk. The national wholesale network provider has told the competition regulator that it intends to provide retail service providers (RSPs) with a credit for connecting customers to its fibre network without a battery back-up.
The Australian government buying back the copper network from Telstra almost 20 years after selling it to the public is a way for Telstra to move away from fixed line services, according to CEO David Thodey. Under the framework for a revise agreement between NBN Co and Telstra, the former government-owned incumbent telecommunications company will progressively hand over its copper and HFC network assets to NBN Co that will be used as part of a “multi-technology mix” model of the NBN that includes HFC and fibre to the node, in addition to the existing fibre to the premises, fixed wireless and satellite services.
NBN Co and Telstra have pushed back the disconnection of copper services for 58 areas in which fibre has been rolled out. The two companies had originally slated for copper services in the 58 fibre servicing area modules (FSAMs) to be disconnected in the Christmas and New Year period, but now say they want to make sure affected users are around to be notified of the disconnection. An NBN Co spokesperson said the dates had been deferred “so everyone can enjoy their summer holiday period”.
Telecommunications giant Ericsson will manage the ground systems of NBN Co’s upcoming long-term satellite service under a new bundle of work worth over $300 million, added to its 10-year, $1.1 billion contract with the national network builder. Ericsson had already won a contract to build and manage the fixed wireless component of the NBN’s rural and regional deployment in mid-2011.
NBN Co’s fibre-to-the-premise product will be ready for service in areas where internet service provider TPG is seen as posing a competitive threat from late September this year. NBN Co expects fibre-to-the-premise for apartment and office blocks to be ready for service by September 24 in six areas in which TPG is threatening to compete against the national broadband network, according to Telstra Wholesale’s NBN Co rollout schedule, updated today and confirmed by NBN Co.
NBN Co will provide a new satellite broadband service to up to 9000 premises in remote areas of mainland Australia to reach customers not covered by the over-subscribed Interim Satellite Service (ISS). The new NBN Co Satellite Support Scheme (NSS) will not be provided by the government-funded company. Instead, NBN Co has appointed IPStar to act as a wholesaler for regional internet providers. IPStar also provides satellites for the ISS. Reachnet and Active8me are participating in the NSS trial, with others expected to come onboard later, NBN Co said.
Telstra has won a $150 million deal with NBN Co for the Government’s pilot of fibre-to-the-node technology in regional areas across Queensland and NSW. Telstra will build around 1000 nodes in certain parts of the two states over the next year to serve around 206,000 homes and businesses, as first reported by the Financial Review. The trial forms part of the Coalition’s attempts to move the NBN from a predominantly fibre-based network to its multi-technology mix.
Customers of iiNet’s NBN fibre broadband and iiNetTV services were unable to connect to the internet for five and a half hours on Friday due to a faulty DHCP server. A number of broadband customers in all states, excluding Western Australia, were disconnected and unable to reconnect to the internet from 12pm Friday. Customers of iiNet’s voice-over-IP offering, Netphone, were similarly unable to place or receive calls.