ISP iiNet is concerned the Coalition's proposed multi-technology mix will require access seekers to invest in connections to multiple wholesale systems in order to service customers, a scenario that is likely to dramatically increase the cost of providing services to Australian broadband users.
Steve Dalby, chief regulatory officer at iiNet told iTnews it is "unclear" whose systems retail service providers such as iiNet would interact with under the revised NBN model put forward by the current government.
The multi-technology mix (MTM) intends to use the "most economically efficient technology" — whether that is fibre, fibre-to-the-node, HFC, wireless or satellite — to connect customers in each rollout location.
While this reduces the costs of delivering the NBN, the MTM model is likely to prove expensive for retail service providers to implement, according to a submission by iiNet to to the Senate inquiry into the NBN (pdf).
MTM "introduces the likelihood that HFC, VDSL and any other non-fibre based access services will require additional investment in business-to-business interfaces, multiple points of interconnect (POIs) with multiple entities, rather than a single interface to a single wholesale network provider", iiNet said.
"We may have a [B2B] interface with NBN Co but if we want to sell [NBN services] over Telstra and Optus' HFC networks, do we have to interface with their proprietary [provisioning] systems, and how much of that will generate additional costs for RSPs?" Dalby added to iTnews.
"It's unclear to us".
RSPs that already resell Telstra DSL and NBN services, for example, would be familiar with the situation — and costs — associated with making their internal systems capable of interacting with the ordering and provisioning systems of each wholesale supplier. Telstra's ordering and provisioning system is LinxOnline.
While Dalby acknowledges that a future polling multiple provisioning systems would be much like the present, he argues the provisioning simplification promised under Labor's NBN was a draw card for service providers.
"With NBN1, we would have retired those other interfaces," he said. "That was something to look forward to. It was a future where we were seeing potential for much less complexity."
First OSS/BSS revamp?
It remains possible that NBN Co will present a single provisioning interface to access seekers.
Last month, NBN Co closed a tender for "strategic network performance monitoring" technology that appears to point to a reformat of its operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS) to fit with the Coalition's MTM model.
The system NBN Co asked for is to "manage network performance across all NBN Co network technologies".
The company goes on to specify that it "support multiple technology types including FTTx, DSL/VDSL, LTE, satellite [and] HFC".
An NBN Co spokesperson did not respond to requests from iTnews seeking to confirm if the project represents the beginning of expected IT system changes to fit with the new government policy that NBN Co must implement.