Optus and NBN Co standoff continues

A sixth version of the NBN Co wholesale broadband agreement to be expected

Optus has yet to sign NBN Co’s wholesale broadband agreement (WBA) — a 12-month contract ISPs enter into to sell commercial services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) — despite the trial agreement having expired on 12 January.

Twenty one providers have signed the agreement to date, including Primus Australia and iiNet, both of which signed up last week. However, the nation's number two telco has continued to hold off on inking the WBA, saying it is still in negotiations with NBN Co over unresolved issues in the agreement.

“Optus is still doing its due diligence in reviewing the WBA,” an Optus spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

NBN Co has maintained up until last week that carriers who do not sign the WBA are unable to bring new customers onto the National Broadband Network, but a spokesperson said it has agreed to continue providing new trial services for existing customers.

“We will continue to provide services for RSPs’ existing customers,” an NBN Co spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

“However, unless a company has signed the WBA there is no contract under which new services can be connected to the network. To add end users to the network, an RSP will need to sign a WBA.”

In November last year, Optus said it had reservations about signing the WBA due to “regulatory oversight” and “service assurance levels”, according to a spokesperson for the telco at the time.

Optus is not the only telco to have had issues with the agreement’s terms, with iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, voicing concerns about the lack of accountability for network outages or negligence by NBN Co.

But as NBN Co made some last-minute concessions to the agreement last week, a number of carriers jumped on the NBN bandwagon following change that include an offer of a one-year final contract instead of the initial five.

Five versions of the WBA had been released before the publication of the final standard form of access agreement; however, a sixth one will be made available following the alterations.

“In order to be fair to all RSPs, changes made to the contract (WBA) will be made available to all service providers, including those who had already signed up,” NBN Co's spokesperson said.

Follow Diana Nguyen on Twitter: @diananguyen9

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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