Australian telco SingTel Optus has announced plans to spend up to USD80 million on the expansion of its broadband network in the first phase, to take its coverage to around 1.2 million homes. The telco currently has around 210,000 broadband subscribers on its fibre-optic network, which runs through Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as 100,000 customers in the rest of the country, which are connected via Telstra’s network, for a wholesale fee. Optus’ network expansion programme will see it install its own switches and exchanges, thus avoiding paying Telstra interconnection fees.
Whether the USD80 million plan will go ahead, depends on the outcome of talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the government and Telstra. Optus is hoping that the ACCC will reduce the cost of local call resale for telcos that install their own switches and exchanges, while Telstra says that Optus should not receive any discounts. Meanwhile the ACCC has launched a separate three-year programme to monitor interconnection between broadband providers, having received several complaints from smaller operators that their larger counterparts were charging too much.