The federal government is seeking to remove any perceived or actual advantage to Telstra as a result of the information it receives from NBN Co on the network rollout. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the ACCC to consult with industry on a proposed carrier license condition for NBN Co which would govern the way it provides rollout information to Telstra and retail service providers (RSPs).
NBN Co will allow users to choose the type of technology to be rolled out to their home or community, for a price. The company’s new ‘technology choice policy, released today and first spotted by NBN watcher Jxeeno, will allow either individual customers, communities or local governments to opt against a rollout technology designated by NBN Co. NBN Co first indicated plans to release such a ‘fibre-on-demand’ product – allowing home and business owners to purchase fibre-to-the-premise – late last year, but declined at the time to comment on cost.
The price of mobile, broadband and fixed-line voice services is continuing to decline in Australia, while the cost of plans for the national broadband network increases, the competition regulator has revealed. In its annual telecommunications report for 2013-14, published today, the ACCC reported that prices for telco services fell by almost 3 percent over the past year, with the exception of the NBN. The fall represented the largest decline in costs for telco services since 2010-11, the ACCC said.
NBN Co has ordered all retail service providers on the interim satellite service to enforce a 50GB four-week usage threshold for customers to combat ongoing congestion on the service. In communications sent to RSPs late last month, sighted by iTnews, NBN Co warned any customer who breaches the 50GB limit during any four-week period will have their speed slowed to 128Kbps for two weeks from when they first exceeded the limit.
RMIT senior research fellow Dr Ian McShane expects Australia to experience a resurgence in community-based telecommunications as the ambitions of the national broadband network are gradually scaled back. McShane and his RMIT colleagues are 12 months into a multi-year study on the rollout of public wi-fi in Australia and its policy and economic implications, funded by a grant from the Australian Research Council.
TPG has withdrawn its fibre-to-the-basement NBN competitor from sale after the federal government introduced new regulations forcing the carrier to structurally separate its retail and wholesale businesses. TPG this week advised on its website that it had been forced to stop selling its FTTB product due to an insufficient amount of time given by the Government to meet the first of its new requirements by the stated date of January 1 2015.
Telstra has signed a $390 million deal with NBN Co to provide planning and design services for the national broadband network over the next four years. The bundle of work comes as a result of the renegotiated definitive agreements between Telstra and NBN Co, under which Telstra handed over its copper and HFC networks to the infrastructure builder.
NBN Co has released details on which suburbs will receive fibre-to-the-premise connections under its revised 18-month construction plan, which has scaled back the number of premises forecast to be connected to the NBN by June 2016. It’s the first detail offered on which regions will receive the national broadband network by June 2016 under the Coalition Government. End-users were left in limbo when NBN Co pulled details of its former three-year rollout plan from its website following last year’s federal election.
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.