While here in the US we were spending the weekend stuffing ourselves with turkey and shopping, down in Australia politicians were actually getting something done. The so called Telstra Bill has now been passed by the Australian parliament, a hurdle which had loomed large. The legislation provides the legal underpinning for the non-binding AUD$11B deal with Telstra, under which the NBN will take over Telstra's historical role as the incumbent backbone. So who gets what under this deal?
- The right to maintain its cable TV interest in Foxtel
- The right to bid in coming 4G spectrum auctions
NBN Co Gets:
- Network access to Telstra enabling it to deploy the new infrastructure
- Decommissioning of Telstra's network in tandem with deployment
- Telstra's wholesale customer base
With that out of the way, the path forward for the NBN is mostly downhill for a while. Now that parliament has cleared the way, Telstra CEO David Thodey wants to finalize the details by December 20. Then it would need to be reviewed by regulators and approved by Telstra shareholders. I'm sure both will find a way to slow things down, but I actually never thought they'd get this far.
And six months from now when they finish that up, what next? I suppose what would follow would be several years of network construction, assuming the government figures out how to fund the buildout. After all, Australia is a pretty big place.
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