Menu
Oz telcos dispute National Broadband Network regulation

Oz telcos dispute National Broadband Network regulation

The Australian telecommunications industry remains split over the need for structural separation in the National Broadband Network (NBN), after submissions to government from ISPs and consumer advocacy groups failed to agree on a suitable regulatory framework.

Submissions by Telstra, the Terria consortium and the Australian Telecommunications User Group (ATUG) were divided over the need for the NBN builder to have horizontal structurally separated retail and wholesale arms, a point which has been a bone of contention for the entirety of the tender process.

Telstra has staunchly refused to accept any form of structural separation, favoring share-holder interests, while its rivals argue it is essential to avoid handing the contract winner a network monopoly.

Proponents claim the government's promised A$50 (US$48) NBN access prices will be impossible if retail and wholesale operations are contained in the same company.

Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai attacked Telstra's refusal to make wholesale NBN access independent in the event it would build the network.

"The structural separation of Telstra and the upgrade of regulatory settings will finally break the multi-year cycle of Telstra litigating and undermining competition by creating fear, uncertainty and delay," Krishnapillai said.

"The focus of this submission is deliberately directed at the reforms that would need to be made to the regulatory framework should Telstra be chosen to construct and operate the NBN. That is, it consciously contemplates the "worst case scenario" for competition.

"Structural separation must be at the core of any regulatory reform."

Such regulation, Optus argues, will reduce involvement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and future-proof proceeding fiber (FttX) deployments.

Structural separation is necessary for the NBN, according to ATUG's submission, although an organizational split of the operator is not essential.

Managing director Rosemary Sinclair said access to the fiber-to-the-Node (FttN) network could be sold through a functionally separated structure.

"It's open to bidders, but structural separation is the best. The absolute bottom requirement is functional separation where there is a clear delineation between the wholesale provider and the retail unit," Sinclair said. A group dubbed NBN Australia would ensure the wholesale prices remain competitive, under ATUG's plan.

Professor Martin Cave, adviser to the European Union on broadband regulation, wrote in Telstra's submission that the functional separation of British Telecom (BT) will not work if applied to Australia's NBN operator.

The split between BT and its wholesale arm Openreach, he argues, is stifling the migration to an NBN access regime because it applies to the Unbundled Local Loop (ULL), which fellow contributors claim is fair in Australia.

Telstra Wholesale group managing director Kate McKenzie said the entire network should be run by a single provider without functional or structural separation.

"If this network is going to be built, the builder needs up-front certainty that its investment will not be undermined or given away by regulatory changes once a decision to invest is made," McKenzie said.

The company's submission stated a Telstra NBN will provide "equivalent" access to competitors based on that provided to its own business units, using "automated processes".

It further argued for the removal of regulations for "legacy networks" and provisions in the tender that require a mix of old and new technologies.

The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) was unable to discuss their submission to government on NBN regulation.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AustraliabroadbandTelstraoptusatuginternational newsAustralian Telecommunications User Group

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments