Telstra will stick to NBN plan despite Optus' potential absence

Telstra (ASX: TLS.AX), Australia's dominant wireline telco, said it intends to maintain its stance on working as a supplier to the government's National Broadband Network (NBN) even if its main competitor Optus' proposal to participate in the project is rejected.

Under the current agreement, the Australian government will leverage Telstra and Optus' wireline networks as the backbone for the NBN.

A Reuters article revealed that it's possible that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) might decide to turn away Optus' plan.

John Stanhope, Telstra's Chief Financial Officer, downplayed the effect that Optus' absence would have, saying it would have a "fairly minor" impact on Telstra's separate deal to sell its wireline assets to the NBN Co.

While Optus's lack of involvement in the NBN may not be a problem, it appears that the ACCC has decided to delay Telstra's separation plan until it resolves some key issues.

Telstra agreed to hand over the keys to its wireline assets to the NBN, but the ACCC is more concerned about the 10-year transition period.

Fund manager Theo Maas, of Arnhem Investment Management, said "Telstra will have reasonable power to disadvantage competitors from access to their old copper network during the roll-out period."

NBN Co Australia broadband map

NBN Co.'s national coverage map

For more:
- Reuters covers the Optus issue in this article
- Reuters also has this article

Related articles:
Australia's NBN Co. appeals to competitors by subsidizing access, service costs
Telstra submits network separation plan to Australian telecom regulators
Telstra consolidates retail, sales teams into one unit
Telstra finalizes $11.6B National Broadband Network transition plan

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