Finder to the Node: Will Telstra inevitably buy the NBN?

Alex Kidman 24 October 2018 NEWS

Telstra's infrastructure arm ponders an NBN bid while new players enter the NBN market in our round-up of all the week's national broadband network news.

Will Telstra buy the NBN wholesale?

One of the key reasons cited for making the national broadband network rollout a government project was to lessen the effective monopoly power held by Telstra thanks to its ownership of the vast majority of ADSL exchanges in Australia more than a decade ago.

The sale of the NBN project was on the cards from day one, but we're much closer to the period when a future government will (presumably) put the NBN up for tender.

The frontrunners to buy the whole network? None other than Telstra, or to be more precise, InfraCo, the infrastructure business that Telstra spun off from itself, with Telstra chair John Mullen quoted by ITNews as stating that the company saw significant benefits in pouncing on a potential NBN sale:

"NBN Co pays Telstra about $1 billion a year for accessing all its ducts and the like. If and when NBN Co is privatised we think there could be – only could be, no certainty – a lot of value uplift to Telstra shareholders if there was some form of combination of that infrastructure business [InfraCo] with the NBN," he said.

Indeed, it appears that InfraCo's purpose would (as many predicted) be to roll around any potential competition/conflict issues that could arise if Telstra itself were to try to buy the NBN.

Origin Energy jumps into the NBN space

One of the key planks of the NBN was to open up the provision of broadband services to new entrants, even though figures suggest that the majority of the customers on the network are sitting with either Telstra, Optus or TPG.

Origin Energy announced its own NBN plans this week to compliment its existing energy plans, having signed up 1,500 customers to a mix of NBN and ADSL plans as part of bundle offerings.

Origin Energy is utilising Optus' wholesale NBN services for delivery of its plans, which cover all NBN speed tiers.

You can check Origin Energy's NBN plan offerings in our NBN plan tracker to see if they'll suit your needs.

Horsham gets gigabit fixed wireless

The Victorian government is planning to boost the broadband prospects of folks in Horsham with a $1.7 million investment into gigabit fixed wireless broadband.

It's very much a competitor service to the NBN's rollout in the area, with the government's release noting that it will "deliver internet speeds 10 times faster than what is currently available through the Liberal and Nationals botched NBN".

It will service residential and business users in the Horsham CBD, Horsham enterprise park, Aerodrome and freight terminal, with services delivered via Spirit Telecom.

The plan is to have services up and running by the end of 2019, but it's possible some services may be live by mid next year.

Finder to the Node is a weekly round-up of all the latest news surrounding Australia's complex National Broadband Network.

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