Watchdog Wont Block TPG Fibre Basement Invasion
The ACCC today confirmed it wont prevent TPG implementing plans to rollout high speed fibre to the basement (FTTB) broadband network to residential customers in high-rise flats, as it leapfrogs access obligations.
The ISP’s planned rollout is permitted under the Telecommunications Act, the Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed today following an investigation.
“Having carefully examined TPG’s plans, the ACCC does not propose to take further action in relation to TPG’s planned fibre to the basement network rollout to supply residential customers in high-rise buildings in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
TPG announced plans last year to extend existing fibre networks that it owns in urban areas, connecting large apartment buildings by running fibre pairs from TPG’s fibre cables into the building’s communications room.
The service would be available to up to 500,000 premises, but confirmed all points of the network will be within one kilometre of the network footprint, as per regulatory requirements.
The plan came at the consternation of NBN Co who has accused TPG of ‘cherry picking’.
The watchdog pointed to “evidence that TPG’s networks were capable of supplying superfast carriage services to small business or residential customers” and not extending the network’s footprint more than 1km at 1 January 2011, means its escapes the NBN ‘level playing field provisions’ loophole.
The ‘NBN level playing field provisions’ prohibit the use of networks other than the NBN Co to supply high speed broadband services to customers, unless the network operator supplies on a wholesale basis only and is subject to open access obligations.
The Commission will now conduct a declaration inquiry into whether a superfast broadband access service like TPGs over fibre-to-the-basement networks should be the subject of access regulation.
A declaration would enable the watchdog regulate prices and terms for high-speed broadband services in multi-tenant buildings, and require that these networks be open to any retail service provider.
Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull today announced proposals to consult industry on a new telecommunications licence condition, that would force network owners, like TPG, to separate their wholesale and retail op’s, and provide access to competing service providers on the same terms as their own retail operations.
This licence condition would remain in place for two years allowing the recommendations of the Vertigan panel to be considered, and long-term regulatory arrangements for the sector to be settled.