NBN Co, the public-private company overseeing the construction and management of the National Broadband Network (NBN), has confirmed that 27 wholesale customers have already signed its revised Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA). With fixed line incumbent Telstra and the country’s largest alternative operator Optus among those to have put pen to paper, the new WBA is expected to be full operation from 1 March 2014. The updated agreement includes a range of enhancements for access seekers, NBN Co has said, as well as greater clarity and consistency, though the company aims to ‘continue to engage with industry in 2014’ as it implements the new WBA and will work to further develop its terms in light of ongoing operational experience.
Commenting on the matter, Caroline Lovell, NBN Co’s Head of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Analysis, noted: ‘The new WBA was achieved after two years of engagement with industry to develop terms of supply of NBN Co fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and wireless based services, and follows the ACCC’s acceptance of NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking … Significant progress has been made in the development and execution of NBN Co’s new supply arrangements and NBN Co thanks customers for their engagement in relation to the new WBA.’
Meanwhile, ZDNet Australia has revealed that iiNet and its subsidiaries, as well as a number of other smaller operators are holding out, amid claims that the revised agreement would leave them vulnerable to paying out compensation to customers for NBN Co’s issues. Citing iiNet’s chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby, the report suggests that iiNet and units such as Internode and Adam Internet will not sign up to the WBA until certain outstanding issues are addressed, in particular those relating to the customer service guarantee (CSG). ‘We won’t sign because we can’t accept that commercial or financial risk that we will be hit with never-ending CSG payments without them underwriting the costs of those, and we are then getting hit with TIO complaints,’ Mr Dalby was quoted as saying.