Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Australasian broadband policy developments

Further developments of interest in both Australia and New Zealand.

The FT (Telstra in A$11bn broadband deal) report that Telstra and the Australian government have broken their impasse to come to a deal in relation to their involvement with the National Broadband Network (see previous posts here and also here, third bullet point). Telstra have provisionally agreed to give access to its infrastructure in return for A$9bn. An additional A$2bn will be spent on "structural separation issues, including the establishment of a universal service obligations entity to oversee Telstra’s delivery of standard telephone services, payphones and emergency call handling." Further commentary from Fierce Telecom: "As the government builds out the NBN, Telstra will shut down its copper-based wireline networks in stages over eight years. In addition, the NBN will get access to Telstra's ducts and trenches to build out its network."

Similarly, the incumbent Telecom New Zealand is thinking about how it could structurally separate the company so as to be able to participate in the country's proposed national broadband network. The New Zealand government has said that "service providers that run networks won't be allowed to participate in the planned Ultra Fast Broadband Initiative, a national public-private national fiber network", according to Fierce Telecom. Telecom New Zealand's own network could serve as a foundation for the government's plan. The New Zealand government will announce its final candidates to build the regional network in the next few weeks followed by final awards in Q3. The New Zealand government also recently released a discussion document seeking feedback and Expressions of Interest on a proposed Deployment Standards Initiative to develop nationwide standards for broadband infrastructure deployment techniques. More details here, with the discussion document available here.

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