NBN Co finalises three-year rollout plan

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NBN Co finalises three-year rollout plan

Surprised by Tasmanian opt-out plan.

NBN Co plans to hand a revised three-year rollout plan that incorporates long-awaited wholesale pricing to the Federal Government by the end of the month, according to chief executive Mike Quigley.

Speaking at the CommsDay Summit in Melbourne to a standing room-only crowd, Quigley said that the costs of the revamped plan were no higher than had been originally envisaged for the NBN and that the Government enterprise was funded at least "until the end of the year and beyond".

"We're submitting a plan to the Government at the end of this month," Quigley said.

"The Government may decide [we need] to modify it this way or that way."

The plan was understood to include full details of planned wireless and satellite rollouts for the network - aspects to be expedited as a result of the deal Labor struck with the Greens and key independents to form minority Government.

Quigley said that NBN Co was planning first-release test sites for both wireless and satellite but said that the locations had not yet been finalised.

The business plan would also include wholesale price data, which Quigley said NBN Co was "finalising" in discussions with competition regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

NBN Co and the Government also planned to seek industry input on the location of points of interconnect (POIs) with the release of a delayed discussion paper. "POI location has a real impact on retail pricing," Quigley said. "It's a complex area."

Quigley did not think that political uncertainty had negatively affected the creation of the business plan.

"A business case over something that spans this length of time is quite difficult to do," he said.

"It means you may need to make assumptions, and the assumptions we made are different from the assumptions the Implementation Study folks made. We were, overall, probably more conservative in areas related to usage and pricing."

Opt-out

Quigley also turned his attention to Tasmanian Government plans to introduce laws to force premises to "opt out" of an NBN connection rather than use the current system, which required home and business owners to "consent" to NBN Co connecting the building to fibre.

"We've kind of assumed we'd always need consent," he said.

"If legislation is passed in Tasmania, we'll figure out how exactly we'll deal with that.

"I must admit we kind of assumed we wouldn't be going onto people's properties unless they gave us permission to go on their properties."

He said it was "up to state governments" if they wanted to pursue similar mandates.

"It's not something we're necessarily pushing," he said.

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