Coalition won't pay extra for Telstra copper

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Coalition won't pay extra for Telstra copper

Covered by definitive agreements.

The Coalition expects Telstra will hand over access or ownership of last-mile copper infrastructure for a fibre-to-the-node network for no additional financial consideration.

Opposition Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull told Sky News yesterday that he was "confident" that the definitive agreements already in place between Telstra and NBN Co would be compensation enough for the incumbent carrier.

"Telstra already has an arrangement with the NBN Co — a contract in fact — whereby they are being paid about $1500 for every premise as it is cut over to the NBN and they decommission their copper network," Turnbull said.

"Their copper network in the context of an NBN world is of no economic value, it can't be used anymore, so I'm very confident that we can acquire access, ownership if you like, of the last mile copper for no additional payment."

Turnbull said Telstra had a "very significant vested interest" in the buildout of the NBN, referring to the $11 billion value the carrier is expected to eke the definitive agreements.

"They negotiated a very good deal and we're not suggesting that should be altered or mitigated in any way," he said.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said in March that he was willing to consider the form the NBN rollout may take, but was unwilling to budge on the promised $11 billion value of the definitive agreements.

However, Thodey has been talking up the value of the copper network in recent months, telling a business gathering in June that the copper network could last another 100 years.

Labor's election campaign advertisements suggested Telstra's copper network is in a significant state of disrepair, to back up its decision to roll out fibre-to-the-home.

But the Coalition's requirement for copper access is expected to put Telstra in a prime negotiating position should a Liberal-National government eventuate.

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