Telstra, NBN Co spar over conduit drawings

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Telstra, NBN Co spar over conduit drawings

Ownership stoush rears ugly head again.

Telstra has reignited a stalemate with NBN Co over conduit ownership that is stalling the rollout of NBN fibre in up to 60 new housing estates across Australia.

The telco is allegedly refusing to hand over crucial drawings of the conduits it has been commissioned to lay in some new estates.

NBN Co requires the ownership rights to pit-and-pipe infrastructure before it will agree to roll out fibre under obligations it assumed from the beginning of this year.

Access to the "as-built" or "as-constructed" drawings of the laid conduits are required as part of the handover.

Developers that commissioned and paid Telstra to design and deploy the NBN-ready conduits are in limbo, according to Robin Russell & Associates managing director Robin Russell.

"There's three or four estates of ours where Telstra have sent documents to say they'll give ownership [of the conduits to NBN Co] but then they won't supply AutoCAD drawings as constructed and NBN Co says we can't do anything without AutoCAD drawings," Russell said.

"No one wants to solve the problems. People are going to be in their houses waiting for months for telephones."

An NBN Co spokesman confirmed the issue but said it was willing to accept the conduit drawings in any format.

"NBN Co does need to have the as-built drawings to complete the network design," the spokesman said.

"We have said we will take them in a range of formats, so we are not relying on the AutoCADs.

"We are working with Telstra to gain access to the drawings as quickly as possible."

A Telstra spokesman declined to comment directly on whether the as-constructed drawings are freely available to NBN Co, or what roadblocks are preventing it from handing over the data.

"The transfer of files and information between Telstra and NBN Co is the subject of confidential arrangements between the parties," Telstra's spokesman said.

The recurrence of conduit ownership issues raised questions about the status of a June policy statement by the Federal Government designed to resolve the tussle, which had first surfaced in April this year.

Allegations of Telstra withholding the crucial drawings come as a blow to that agreement.

A spokesman for the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) did not return a request for comment on the status of the policy document.

But Telstra said it remained "committed" to the policy and its obligations.

"Under the policy statement, developers are responsible for the installation of fibre-ready pit-and-pipe," the telco's spokesman said.

"The statement also deals with requirements on the developer to transfer ownership in the pit-and-pipe to NBN Co or Telstra.

"Telstra is following the policy statement and will agree to transfer ownership of pit-and-pipe in accordance with that statement."

Telstra said it would only refuse to transfer ownership of pit-and-pipe where it had paid for the infrastructure or where the developer still owed it money.

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