Telstra has signed a $1.6 billion contract with the nbn to administer planning, design, construction and management services within the existing Telstra Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) footprint.
The delivery agreement is expected to continue until the end of the nbn build, estimated to be completed by 2020, including areas within the Telstra HFC network footprint in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide.
Terms of the deal will see construction split into field construction activities that will largely be performed by the nbn’s MIMA partners, whilst in-exchange construction activities will be undertaken by Telstra.
The Multi Technology Mix (MTM) network architecture will be deployed to provide nbn broadband capability in the areas currently covered by Telstra’s HFC footprint.
"We have a very strong relationship with nbn and I am pleased we have reached an agreement and can support nbn in building out the nbn network in the existing Telstra HFC footprint," Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn, said.
"Telstra has a long and proud history in network construction and we believe we will bring great expertise to this important part of the nbn network.
"We are already mobilising our workforce to ensure we support nbn in their roll out schedule. We look forward to working with nbn on this significant program of work, helping to bring the nbn network to millions of homes and businesses."
In late 2015, Telstra was awarded two contracts as one of the network service and assurance providers and to nbn and has already undertaken some early HFC planning and design works to support the build of the nbn network.
As Penn said, the telco also worked on the 1000-node trial including Fibre To The Node (FTTN) design and construction.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has expressed concerns around the competition implications of the telco’s engagement in the rollout of the network.
The ACCC has had extensive discussions with nbn and Telstra in seeking to rectify the telco’s extensive involvement in providing nbn design, engineering, procurement and construction management services under the HFC agreement.
In response, Telstra and nbn have provided a set of proposals aimed at addressing the concerns.
“We have raised several concerns with Telstra and nbn Co, including that Telstra may receive a competitive advantage if it has access to better information than other service providers or if it is able to use infrastructure built for the nbn network before that infrastructure becomes available to other retail service providers," ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said.
"We are looking at the parties’ proposals carefully to consider to what extent these proposals address our concerns.
"It is important that Telstra doesn’t get a head-start selling retail services over the nbn just because its technical expertise is being used in the construction and maintenance of the nbn."