Concerns remain as Optus casts lot with NBN

 

Regulatory oversight in the air.

Optus has remained firm on key criticisms of the regulations surrounding the National Broadband Network, despite becoming the largest provider to sign the wholesale broadband agreement to date.

The nation's second largest telco is the 25th service provider to sign the agreement since December, allowing it to activate new customers on the NBN under the final terms agreed to between NBN Co and industry.

The contract, though initially a five-year term, will last for just one year as NBN Co continues negotiations with the competition watchdog around the regulatory framework which will govern the network for the next 30 years.

Optus' signing follows other large telcos including iiNet, Internode and Primus, who signed the contract last week after NBN Co agreed to last-minute changes around legal liability in event of contract breaches or a network issues.

But an Optus spokeswoman told iTnews today that concerns raised by its general manager interconnect and economic regulation Andrew Sheridan "remain consistent".

"While some progress has been made... the current [agreement] does not adequately address the need for regulatory oversight by the ACCC and provide service level agreements in line with industry expectations," she said.

The service levels [pdf] currently provide for NBN Co to rectify any network outages within two business days using infrastructure already in place, or between five and 15 business days should further infrastructure be required.

"The focus now is to ensure outstanding concerns are addressed in any future version [of the agreement]," the spokeswoman said.

 

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It is expected some of these concerns will be nutted out in continuing negotiations over the special access undertaking, which is under review by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Those providers with customers on the network but yet to sign the wholesale agreement - such as Telstra - will remain on the trial agreement which expired earlier this month.

The trial agreement's expiry prevents service providers not on the WBA from signing on new customers in 'brownfields' areas.

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