Biggest 2 Australian telcos join broadband rollout

Jun 23, 2011 By ROD McGUIRK , Associated Press

(AP) -- Australia's two largest telecommunications companies signed lucrative deals with the government to join the rollout of a fiber optic national broadband network that will be among the world's fastest.

Telstra Corp. and Optus Pty. Ltd. - which combined represent 60 percent of Australia's retail , signed separate deals with the government Thursday to close down their own infrastructures and transfer customers to the national broadband network, known as the NBN.

The deal with Telstra, the larger company, was required under the NBN business plan to achieve the rollout at 36 billion Australian dollars ($38 billion).

Without it, NBN Co., the government-owned company that is building the super-fast network, would have had to duplicate Telstra's unrivaled infrastructure.

But the deal with Optus, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., is an added bonus that will boost customers and drive down costs, Treasurer Wayne Swan said.

"Two major telcos have now signed on with the NBN and that will mean a very strong take up of the NBN," Swan told reporters. "This will, of course, completely change the market structure in Australia."

Both deals need the approval of Australia's , the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Telstra also needs the approval of shareholders at an Oct. 18 annual meeting.

Telstra, a former government-owned monopoly that still owns the nation's aging , which it leases to competitors, has agreed to progressively disconnect that infrastructure.

Telstra and the government expect the agreement to deliver AU$11 billion to Telstra over decades in replacement revenue through disconnection payments, and new revenues through payments for access to its infrastructure.

Telstra services will migrate to the NBN over its expected 10-year construction.

Telstra will also provide NBN Co. with access to other infrastructure for a period of 35 to 40 years.

Optus will progressively migrate its hybrid fiber coaxial cable (HFC) customers to the NBN starting in 2014, for which it will earn AU$800 million.

The government has already begun rolling out the network, which will deliver broadband speeds of 100 megabits per second to 90 percent of Australian homes, schools and businesses through fiber-optic cables connected directly to buildings.

The new speeds are 100 times faster than most Australians currently get - enough to watch multiple high-quality downloads of movies or television shows at once from the same connection.

A handful of countries - South Korea, Japan, France and Germany among then - currently have comparable speeds.

The plan to make Australians one of the most wired people in the world with uniform Internet access is made more challenging by the vast and scarcely populated Outback, which separates the major coastal cities.

The conservative opposition argues the plan is too expensive.

The opposition Liberal Party went to elections in August last year promising to deliver a smaller, slower - but much less expensive - AU$6 billion network with a range of technologies, including optical fiber, wireless and DSL.

Explore further: Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Telstra strikes $10B deal for Australia broadband

Jun 20, 2010

(AP) -- The government and Australia's largest telecommunications company announced a deal Sunday that clears a major hurdle to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's plans for a superfast national broadband network.

Australia announces $30 bln broadband plan

Apr 07, 2009

Australia announced plans to build a 30 billion US dollar broadband network, its biggest infrastructure project ever, opting to retain government control rather than contract out the deal.

Recommended for you

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

Apr 17, 2014

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...