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Body Corporates Object To TPG SmartHouse Fibre Highjack Strategy

Body Corporates Object To TPG SmartHouse Fibre Highjack Strategy

TPG Telecom was planning to extend its fibre network to half a million apartment blocks in the hope that they could get exclusive access to the services of tenants. 

The Australian newspaper claims that body corporate in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have approached claiming that TPG’s plan to connect its fibre networks in apartment basements will mean other providers like Telstra and the National Broadband Network will not be able to serve residents with competitive broadband offers. 

TPG were trying to move quickly after a loophole in the Telecommunications Act was discovered that that allows superfast broadband networks that existed before January 2011 to be “extended” 1km in length into the-basement of high-rise apartments.

A major development in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct, have complained to authorities about TPG’s attempts to install its equipment in buildings.
Their body corporate claims a “sole provider clause” contained in the FTTB installation contracts being issued by TPG to building owners restricts other people accessing the building. 

The technology being used by TPG Telecom, FTTB connects high-bandwidth fibre cables to the basement of apartment blocks, individual apartments are then connected via th the building’s internal wiring.

Known as vectored DSL, the technology can deliver download speeds of up to 100Mbps. Experts claim that the presence of two VDSL systems in the same building, using the same wiring, can cause interference and delays.

By being first to install its equipment into an apartment complex TPG hopes to get exclusive use of the limited infrastructure in the buildings.

Of late TPG has been spruiking body corporates and owners to take up their service in an effort to beat the NBN roll out of services. 

TPG has been offering free internet connections for on-site managers’ offices, to entice them to ?accept installation of the telco’s equipment.

Letters from TPG are asking tenants to waive any objections they have to the installation of the equipment.

“(TPG) has provided me with notice of its proposed installation and I understand that in certain circumstances I have the right to object to the installation of such facilities,” said one letter obtained by The Australian. “I do not wish to make an objection in this case and hereby waive my right to object to this installation.”

The Australian said that not all owners are playing ball, and Festival Towers, 41-storey high-rise in Brisbane’s CBD, is one with the Chairman of the body Corporate Mark Carlile resisting TPG’s attempts to install its infra?structure.
Mr Carlile is more interested in ensuring residents get a fair go than the free installation that is being offered by TPG.

“Earlier this year, TPG served a low-impact notice on the body corporate, saying they were going to barge in and install equipment for the next-generation broadband,” Mr Carlile said.

“We objected on the basis this was not low impact, and this should be a matter for the body corporate to decide what services we would like in our own building, and not forced upon us.”

Mr Carlile has sent two pages of questions to TPG, asking it to detail its plans for the rollout.

Chief among his concerns were: whether the installation was legal or anti-competitive; whether other providers would be prevented from offering competing services; and whether tenants would be forced to switch internet and telephony services to TPG.

“We just want to make sure they can’t lock out all other competitors, which it looked like they were trying to do,” Mr Carlile said.

“We want to know what they will do with wholesale prices because we want internet services that will be competitive for our residents.”

Mr Carlile said he had yet received responses to his queries. 

TPG chief executive David Teoh has said the carrier is willing to provide wholesale access to its infrastructure in apartment buildings, the telco’s competitors have questioned the proposal. The plan is being examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission and a government-appointed panel headed by Michael Vertigan.