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Telstra-NBN Co wholesale broadband agreement 'imminent'

Other ISPs have already signed their WBA's with NBN Co but Telstra is still sorting through the finer details

Telstra has been straggling on signing the NBN Co wholesale broadband agreement (WBA) but it will do so very soon, according to the telco's CEO, David Thodey.

He was speaking at Telstra's 2012 first half-yearly results event in Melbourne.

So far 25 telcos have signed the WBA, which WBA sets out commercial agreements between NBN Co and its customers on how they will sell services on the National Broadband Network (NBN) over a short period of time.

Optus, iiNet, Internode and Primus Telecom have already signed their WBAs. ISPs cannot sell NBN services if it does not have a WBA with NBN Co.

"We are making good progress on [the WBA]," Thodey said. "We are just tidying up a couple of things.

"So it is imminent -- we just have to work through the final little bits."

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He said there are no big dramas in relation to finalising a WBA with NBN Co and discussions have no impact on the structural separation undertaking (SSU) which Telstra has submitted to the ACCC for approval.

"We're just treating this like any other contract -- we negotiate," Thodey said. "It's important just to get the settings right as we go forward.

While Telstra has said there has been minimal fuss over WBA negotiations, the same cannot be said for NBN Co's special access undertaking (SAU).

Late last month, Telstra, along with other telcos, raised concerns for over the SAU, which affects price and non-price terms of the NBN for the next 30 years.

Telstra claimed the SAU lacks sufficient regulation.

"This is unreasonable," Telstra said in its submission to the ACCC as part of a public consultation. "A WBA can only be 'overridden' by the NBN Co SAU if WBA provides for this... There is no self-effecting regulatory mechanism or statutory right for the ACCC to intervene to otherwise give effect to the SAU."

Thodey insisted Telstra was not trying to be negative over the SAU issue but merely wanted to make suggestions to "try to help create a stronger, more equitable environment on the NBN world."

ACCC is due to make a decision on the NBN Co SAU by mid-year.


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