Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has reportedly been given the go-ahead by the Coalition government to file its revised migration plan with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in a move which should pave the way for a swift implementation of the updated multi-technology mix (MTM) approach for the National Broadband Network (NBN). According to The Australian, the migration plan is linked to the revised deal struck between Telstra and NBN Co, the company overseeing the NBN project, under which the former will progressively transfer its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC), fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) assets to the latter.
In outlining the regulatory instruments which will govern the migration of Telstra’s customers to the NBN, the Coalition government has notably rejected concerns that the telco could unfairly benefit from any role it might play in the design, construction and maintenance of the FTTN component of the NBN. With concerns having also been raised relating to the new focus of the NBN project on HFC technology and the potential for Telstra to utilise the augmented HFC network to target new customers, the state has argued that the telco will not gain any advantage in this area, as it does not have a general right under the revised definitive agreements to use the augmented HFC network before other retail service providers. ‘Instead, Telstra has a limited right to access lead-ins constructed by NBN Co within Telstra’s existing HFC footprint. In accessing those lead-ins Telstra will be no better off than if it had built the additional lead-ins itself,’ the government noted in a statement.
Further, calls for the regulation of Telstra’s HFC network by the ACCC have been dismissed, with the government saying: ‘Calls for the Migration Plan to allow for the possible declaration of Telstra’s HFC services are not supported … Industry has not sought declaration of Telstra’s HFC services in the past. In the timetable for the MTM NBN rollout there would be insufficient time for other retail service providers to develop retail products in respect of both Telstra’s HFC services and the NBN HFC network.’