The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed concern over nbn’s new contract with Telstra.

Recently, nbn signed a contract with Telstra to manage the design and construction of the broadband network for homes currently in the footprint of Telstra’s pay TV cable network (Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial or HFC cable).

Under the new arrangement, Telstra will carry out the design, part of the construction and the construction management of the remainder of the work required to extend the nbn network to these homes.

The ACCC said that while it recognises that using Telstra’s technical expertise will contribute to a quicker rollout of the NBN, it remains concerned of competition issues that may arise from the agreements that involve Telstra in the construction and maintenance of the NBN, including the HFC Delivery Agreement.

ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims said “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.”

The ACCC has had extensive and productive discussions with nbn and Telstra to seek to address the concerns that could arise because of Telstra’s role in providing design, engineering, procurement and construction management services to NBN under the HFC Agreement.

nbn and Telstra recently provided a set of proposals aimed at addressing these concerns.

“We are looking at the parties’ proposals carefully to consider to what extent these proposals address our concerns,” Mr Sims said.

“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.”

Jessica Dickers

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