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Optus Jump Into NBN’s Bed (But Where’s Telstra?)

Telecom’s top dogs Optus and Telstra had refused to sign NBN wholesale agreements due to regulation concerns, holding out for months on more optimal terms and conditions.

The telcos (which also included Macquarie Telecom) main concerns surrounded the question of service liability, and who would be responsible if there was faults, something which now appears to have been assuaged to some degree between SingTel owned telco and NBN Co, although the former still say they have reservations about the terms of the wholesale broadband agreement (WBA) being offered.

The latest NBN deal is for one year only, with Optus betting on the fact its issues with the wholesale agreement will be resolved by time a new deal is drawn up in 2013, and brings to 26 the number of companies who now have WBAs with NBN Co.

However, Optus’ capitulation after protracted negotiations on Friday is a clear sign Telstra may be about to follow suit.

The NBN Co had refused to allow ISP’s register new NBN users until the agreements were all wrapped up.

“While some progress has been made, the current WBA does not adequately address the need for regulatory oversight by the ACCC and provide SLAs in line with industry expectations,” an Optus spokeswoman told media last week.

“At the same time we recognise this is a 12-month contract, and want to continue providing services over the NBN, so our focus now is to ensure that any outstanding concerns are adequately addressed in the future version.”

Other players like iiNet and Internode signed wholesale agreements with NBN months ago, although the former too had reservations about the agreements T&C’s. 

However, Friday’s agreement with Optus is “our standard contract terms for supply of services over the fibre part of the network,” NBN Co spokesperson told SmartHouse.

“We welcome Optus to the growing number of companies which have signed the WBA, which is now up to 26.

“It augurs well for the future of competition on our network.”

But hold on, where’s the nations number one telco, Telstra?

NBN Co spokesperson refused to comment on Telstra’s status saying it doesn’t discuss commercial negotiations.

However, negotiations are thought to be ongoing although compnay sources this may not happen until after the telco’s other major NBN stumbling block, its structural separation which will see the break up of its retail and wholesale arms is signed off, which the competition watchdog has yet to approve.