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NBN prepares for competition

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NBN Co targets areas of greater consumer broadband competition and will proceed with its rollout into apartment buildings, having TPG Telecom as its competitors which already installed that technology.

On Thursday, NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon addressed a Senate Estimates committee that it does not follow or focus on TPG, but they only for examining competitors and identifying areas that are open for competition.

“We’re rolling out where you can identify a high concentration of MDUs [multi-dwelling units. We would expect at some point that we would enter into an MDU that would have a competing technology set and we would continue to deploy, ” Mr Simon said.

TPG’s fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) has been publicised as a threat to NBN since its launch in September last year due to cherry-picking locations that would possibly offer a better return, while NBN is required to make broadband available to all areas in Australia, targeting poorly served areas. TGP aims for the installation of the technology in some 500,000 homes.

Simon said that NBN Co has already installed 12 multi-dwelling units with fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP, having an average of 100 dwellings and exceeding expectations of take-up rate, coming in above 6 percent.

Mr. Simon said roll outs moving forward will continue with FTTB instead of FTTP, but if a body-corporate will be interested in using NBN Co’s Fibre-on-Demand service, a co-payment will be considered.

He said that NBN Co aims to continue rolling out the network at 20 multi-dwelling units per month in the near-term and to increase that number along the way.

Plans to control existing hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable networks, such as those used for pay television in some areas of the NBN rollout, was outlined last week.  27% of the entire rollout could be accounted for by HFC in one circumstance outlined in NBN’s corporate plan.

However, Telstra and Sing Tel’s Optus currently own the HFC infrastructure and NBN has yet to reach a deal with them.

This year, there are ongoing negotiations, but NBN Co chief financial officer, Stephen Rue would not comment on whether NBN looks to purchase or to lease the HFC assets.

Rue said that they are not in a position to comment, but that they are hopeful to complete those negotiations this year and to make various regulatory clearances upon completion.

NBN chief operating officer Greg Adrock said that HFC assets is not accessible by NBN Co so it has not been tested.

He said that the plan is being finalised subject to the success of a discussion with asset owners.

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About Alex Martin

Alex Martin is a senior writer and editor who specialises in consumer electronics and broadband service. Backed by more than 8 years experience in the Telco industry, he is up to speed with the latest innovations in digital & consumer technology. He endeavours to share his insights in ways ordinary consumers can understand.

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