NBN Co Gains 8500 Fibre Links, Nabs ACT
Under the deal, the builder of the National Broadband Network also acquires the network assets currently planned or under construction covering a further 4500 premises – and will pay iiNet for access to TransACT’s extensive system of underground ducts throughout the ACT.
NBN Co can’t immediately add these numbers to its list of connected premises for the NBN. But it can presumably add them to the listing of “premises passed” which it has been seeking to hurry along ahead of a June 30 deadline.
In a media statement CEO Mike Quigley said NBN Co plans to integrate the TransACT FttP network with the NBN. Residents’ in-premises equipment will be swapped over when a home or business owner orders an NBN-enabled service through their preferred service provider, he said.
TransACT will complete construction of pit-and-pipe infrastructure in a number of new estates where developer agreements are in place until 2017, and then transfer ownership to NBN Co at no charge.
Said Quigley yesterday: “This is a good deal for iiNet, for NBN Co and for residents passed by the TransACT network in the ACT. For our part, it brings forward NBN Co’s ability to earn revenues, reduces construction costs and limits community disruption.”
Independent telecommunications analyst Paul Budde hailed the agreement.
“This has been in the making for over a year and I have always been confident that finally they would come to an agreement,” he told CDN.
“It makes total sense for the deployment of the NBN in Canberra to use the TransACT network as – with everything in the end – it is a money question and obviously that is what has taken it so long . it doesn’t make sense to overbuild Canberra and for iiNet it doesn’t make sense to maintain a relatively small infrastructure system (while) there are very significant cost advantages for the network to be part of the overall NBN.”
The deal requires clearance by the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission.
IiNet gained the fibre network as part of its $60 million 2011 acquisition of Canberra-based ISP TransACT. It also gained a fibre-to-the-node network in parts of Canberra, and cable broadband networks in some regional Victorian towns.
Federal legislation had prevented iiNet from expanding the network in areas where NBN Co plans to build its own network, leading TransACT CEO Ivan Slavich to repeatedly call for NBN Co to buy the fibre.