Telstra free to make TPG-style basement fibre play

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Telstra free to make TPG-style basement fibre play
TPG's fibre to the basement play attracts the attention of rivals.

But little appetite for 'crazy'.

Telstra's definitive agreements with NBN Co and the government would not preclude it from pursuing a fibre-to-the-basement rollout similar to that planned by TPG, though the incumbent isn't about to "do anything crazy" on that front.

Group managing director of corporate affairs, Tony Warren — the man appointed by Telstra to lead renegotiations with the federal government — told investors in Sydney that the incumbent would "compete as we need to" when it came to the telecommunications market.

He said there is "nothing" in the definitive agreements between NBN Co and Telstra "that overly prevents" a fibre-to-the-basement play similar to that announced by TPG in September.

"Remember, our agreements are essentially we will hand over the [copper] network as NBN rolls out," Warren said. "If NBN's not there, we have a lot of rights.

"We will discuss this with NBN — we won't do anything crazy — but we'd look at that [FTTB]. We will of course compete in the retail market as we have to."

TPG hopes to reach 500,000 apartments across five cities with its own fibre-to-the-basement network. The proposal will test rules enacted to protect NBN Co from competition and TPG is remaining flexible with its plans as it attempts to negotiate the regulatory hurdles.

Warren indicated he and Telstra were "interested" to see what regulatory limitations would apply to TPG's plan, and how that would be overcome.

"I'm looking forward to TPG putting a wholesale service out there that is on the same terms and conditions as our wholesale services, so interesting to see if they put that in the market," he said.

"I'm also looking forward to them signing up to the various Comms Alliance [technical] codes that control this stuff.

"It's an interesting play by TPG. We'll see how much of it is real."

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