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Australia's NBN adds 27 wholesale customers, but iiNet, others hold out

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NBN Co. has signed up 27 wholesale customers, including Telstra and Optus, for its new Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA).

Expected to go live in March, NBN Co. said this agreement includes a number of "enhancements for access seekers," as well as greater clarity and consistency. 

"The new WBA was achieved after two years of engagement with industry to develop terms of supply of NBN Co fibre-to-the-premises and wireless based services, and follows the ACCC's acceptance of NBN Co's Special Access Undertaking," said Caroline Lovell, NBN Co's head of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Analysis.

However, iiNet and other smaller competitive providers have refused to sign the new WBA, reports ZDNet Australia. They claim that the revised WBA would require them to pay out compensation to customers for NBN Co's issues.

Steve Dalby, iiNet's chief regulatory officer, said that a key concern was the NBN rules regarding the customer service guarantee (CSG). Today, when a retail provider like iiNet is fined for an issue that was caused on Telstra's copper network such as a line fault, the incumbent telco will pay back the retail provider for the fine they incurred.

"We won't sign because we can't accept that commercial or financial risk that we will be hit with never-ending CSG payments without them underwriting the costs of those, and we are then getting hit with TIO complaints," he said in a ZDNet article.

For more:
- see this release
- ZDNet Australia has this article

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