Copper swap counts as NBN progress
The National Broadband Network (NBN Co) and the Federal Government have signed deals with telcos Telstra and Optus to deliver the Coalition's version of high-speed broadband.
In a complex back-and-forth, the Coalition has convinced Telstra to transfer ownership of its copper network to NBN Co.
It comes after a move in 2011 that saw Labor sign an $11 billion deal with Telstra to decommission the copper network to make way for an optical NBN.
So now it is back to copper again, as the Coalition aims to get its cut-price, low-speed, easy-to-build network underway.
An agreement with Optus allows NBN Co to take progressive ownership of the Optus HFC cable network and use this infrastructure in the NBN rollout.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the new deal would not cost taxpayers any extra, or affect Telstra’s share prices.
“The mix of technologies that the National Broadband Network will use are the leading, cutting edge technologies and techniques being used by the leading telcos around the world,” Mr Turnbull said.
“They will ensure that all Australians have access to very fast broadband, much sooner and at much less cost and much more affordably.”
“This is a great step forward in delivering on the NBN. I'd say it is a key part of the Government's business-like approach to sorting out the messes that we inherited from the Labor Party.”
Labor communications spokesperson Jason Clare said the NBN was now essentially meaningless.
“The Government has got what it wants out of this deal. Telstra has got what it wants out of this deal,” he said.
“But the losers in this deal are Australians, millions of Australians who will end up with a second-rate broadband network.”
Telstra chief executive David Thoady welcomed the deal.
“It is about what we all have a shared vision for and what can make Australia great,” he said.
“Improving productivity, improving commerce, changing education, changing the health industry and doing that in an innovative way - that is what this is really about, and doing it at a price for the taxpayer and the citizens of Australia that is affordable.”