Telstra Won't Renegotiate NBN Deal

Telstra has categorically ruled out renegotiating its NBN contract should the Coalition win the election in September.

Image: Telstra

The Australian interviewed Telstra's David Thodey at Mobile World Congress, and pointedly asked about the long-held Coalition position that it would renegotiate the $11 billion NBN deal in order to facilitate a FTTN solution. According to Thodey, however, at least the value of the deal isn't open for discussion.

We have a contract with the government and we know what value we need to participate. And that's really the end of the story. In terms of the value of our shareholders agreed to receive from the government and NBN Co, the deal has not changed.

He's open to changing the technology used for a NBN rollout, but not the actual compensation figure

Speaking on behalf of the shareholders, if there is a different way to make up that value, we are happy to talk about it. But at the end of the day we are making available for a price this infrastructure to allow the government to implement this policy.

That puts an interesting spike in the Coalition's frequently stated promises that it would deliver a national broadband solution both faster and cheaper; not having to renegotiate the contract may well be quicker, but it's not going to be appreciably cheaper. The Australian quotes Malcolm Turnbull as "welcoming" the comments from Thodey, stating that

We are confident that we can negotiate satisfactory access to copper in areas where we'd want to build a network on a fibre-to-the-node basis and we entirely understand Telstra will expect to keep its shareholders whole.

Then again, the Coalition hasn't released anything that could be called a detailed broadband plan, and Turnbull's own recent comments on the issue suggest that no plan would be formulated until after the September election if the Coalition takes power, so there's an awful lot of flexibility within the Coalition's position to begin with.

No renegotiation for Thodey [The Australian]


    I bet the coalition is regretting giving up government control of Telstra now.

      Heh, they made their bed now they can lay in it.
      I would have hoped though, that Telstra would hold fast to the actual plan not just the money.!

    I like this part:
    "The Coalition says that policy is too costly and too slow to roll out and has proposed a fibre-to-the-node network that will be cheaper and quicker to build but have slower download speeds."

    Yup, welcome to the 21st Coaliton Century; Fiber to the node copper to your house, The NBN has to last a long time and currently there is nothing faster tham fiber (it is light after all) Look at the current rate of tech progress and think Mmmm "dumbing down" the NBN is that a good idea? I think we could be left behind once again, Keeping copper lines is like keeping that old car on blocks out the back, one day you might fix it up, but you never do.

      They successfully dumbed down the voters, why not the nbn as well..

    It's just a shame the rest of society don't think forward like the "tech heads" that visit sites like lifehacker.

    I'm a swingiing voter but this election I will be voting labour. My vote doesn't count anyway since i'm in a safe labour seat.

    However, even I can concede that Tony will probably win it. He'll say anything to get into power with no clue as to how he is going to pay for any of these promises once he gets there.

    Plus he has the weight of the entire Australian media behind him, as the mass media have been running a bit of a anti-labour/anti-Julia campaign for the last 2 years at least.

    Last edited 04/03/13 11:14 am

      But our media has always been hopelessly conservative. There's nothing different about this election where that's concerned.

      Isn't it interesting how Labor voters believe the media is anti-Labor and Liberal voters think it is anti-Liberal?

      Of course any government in power is going to get negative news because it is their actions that impact the country whereas the opposition is all talk until they are in power. If the party in government makes itself out to be a joke, the media will attack it. This is what the case is currently with Labor. If the Liberal party takes power and they make as much a fool out of themselves then the media will be anti-Liberal.

    The Government makes laws yeah, so they can quite simple force Telstra back to the table, pretty simple stuff. If it is in the national interests why not, that's what agovernment is supposed to do, you know act in the taxpayers interest!

      Government can only make laws within the bounds of its constitution.

      That's why we have a judicial system.

    Easy, Telstra will just continue running velocity out to compete with FTTN. Premium pricing.

    there’s an awful lot of flexibility within the Coalition’s position to begin with

    Yes, they'll need that flexibility when Telstra tells them how far to bend over

    The instant that the Coalition scraps the NBN FTTH plan, Australia will again be dependent on Telstra's copper network and Telstra can name their price. Take it or leave it.

    Under the current FTTH plan, the copper's only value is as scrap after a few years of profitable operation. The Coalition will make Telstra richer and not make any significant savings by switching to FTTN. Instead they will only give up the chance to make lots more money selling faster FTTP services to those willing and able to pay for it.

    The end result is a poorer network for the nation, no savings and more profit for Telstra.

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