TPG beats NBN in court case over FTTB

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TPG beats NBN in court case over FTTB

Telco can legally access and draw power from existing sockets.

TPG has successfully defended itself against NBN (formerly NBN Co) over misleading and deceptive conduct claims arising from its rollout of fibre-to-the-basement.

In October last year NBN took Pipe Networks' parent company TPG to court in NSW over its plans to use the power supply in apartment blocks to roll fibre into the buildings.

NBN had claimed the telco was misleading strata managers and building owners by informing them it was legally able to access and draw power from existing sockets.

In a judgment today, Justice Kunc ruled the Telecommunications Act "does authorise Pipe, its employees and contractors to install the telecommunications equipment including by plugging it into a power socket and drawing power from the premises' power supply without the consent of the owner or occupier".

“We are very pleased to have been successful in these proceedings,” TPG general counsel Tony Moffatt said in a statement.

“Carrier rights have been in place since competition was introduced to the telecommunications market and were designed to place all competitive carriers in an equal position.

"This judgment is important for the industry and confirms that TPG, NBN and all other carriers have an equal entitlement to install and operate equipment in buildings, including by using electricity.”

An NBN spokesperson said the company had taken Pipe to court to get clarity on the "ambiguous" Telecommunications Act.

"We wanted the law clarified and we are very pleased to get clarification," the spokesperson said.

"While we are still considering the impacts of the judgment, our initial view is that this decision will help the rollout of the NBN network over the coming years."

TPG's efforts to connect 500,000 apartments to its fibre network across metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth has been a bone of contention for NBN and the Government.

Its plans were found by the ACCC to fall within the law last year, but the Government opted to restrict the potential for competition to NBN's FTTB plans by introducing a carrier licence condition for any operator wanting to compete with the network.

The licence forced TPG to withdraw its FTTB plans from sale in January after being unable to meet the first lot of requirements under the new conditions.

The plans were put back on the market in February once TPG opened its FTTB network to wholesale partners, the first of two conditions under the license.

TPG is currently working to take over rival ISP iiNet in order to create Australia's second largest broadband provider. However, TPG's plans were this week set back after ISP M2 entered the game with a $1.6 billion bid of its own.

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