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TPG Accused Of Building Over Planned City’s Cable

The developers of Australia’s largest planned city are suing a subsidiary of TPG that allegedly betrayed them after being paid to install fiber-optic cabling.

It’s alleged Pipe Networks installed a duplicate line next to the one they were contracted to build, and then used it to siphon customers.

Springfield City Group chairman Bob Sharpless said the the actions of Pipe Networks was the “worst corporate behaviour” he’d ever seen, according to the Australian.

“The very people we engaged and paid to build the network have dudded us in a way we could never have contemplated,” Mr Sharpless said.

Pipe Networks was paid $5 million in 2005 to install fiber optic cable.

The aim was to provide faster internet to attract more businesses to the planned city, around 30 kilometres south west of Brisbane’s CBD.

The network was completed in late 2007, and Pipe Networks would be paid around $100,000 to maintain it according to a contract set to expire in 2021.

In 2013, a duplicate fiber-optic cable was discovered alongside the one Pipe Networks had been contracted to build.

Executive director of corporate advisory firm KordaMentha’s Forensic division Bruce O’Shea put Springfield’s lost profits at $11.9 million when forecast through to 2036, when the city’s exclusive rights to use the cable were set to expire.

Springfield City Group allege Pipe Networks trespassed on its infrastructure to install the cable and filed a lawsuit in 2016 that has been progressing through the Queensland Supreme Court.

[Image: Queensland Supreme Court by Wikimedia Commons user Kgbo [CC BY-SA 3.0]]

Pipe Networks deny the trespass accusation, but have admitted to building its own network in 2009.

The company denies this constitutes acting in bad faith.

TPG acquired Pipe Networks in 2010.

Mr Sharpless told the Australian TPG was aware of issues relating to the duplicate network but hadn’t tried to rectify them.

He branded the telco “corporate cowboys” and questioned whether they could be trusted.

It comes at an unfortunate time for TPG, who will begin a legal challenge in the Federal Court next week against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after it blocked the company’s planned $15 billion merger with Vodafone earlier this year.

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