Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has reportedly agreed a broad framework for the migration of its customers to the country’s planned National Broadband Network (NBN), although a final deal between the two parties remains some way off. According to Bloomberg, no details on the model that is being considered for customer transfer have been released, and it is understood that as negotiations continue between the government and Telstra that the terms of the agreement may well change. In addition no financial terms are thought to have been settled. It is also believed that the two sides have discussed commercial wholesale arrangements that would see NBN Co, the public-private company that will oversee the network’s construction, given access to Telstra’s backhaul infrastructure and ducts.
The government had hoped to reach a final accord with Telstra prior to the end of the year, and communications minister Stephen Conroy has previously claimed that the incumbent will need to deliver ‘improved competitive outcomes’ during the transition to the new fibre infrastructure. With the first steps taken towards a firm and final agreement, Telstra noted: ‘Given the importance and complexity of the issues being discussed, it is too early to determine whether any final agreement between the parties will be reached or approved by all relevant stakeholders and regulators.’
In separate but related news Telstra has said that it expects revenues in the first half of its 2009-10 fiscal year to be down against the same period last year, on the back of increased competition. Having initially forecast growth in the low single digits, the telco has said it expects revenue to be ‘flattish’. Nonetheless, Telstra has reiterated all of its other guidance figures.