The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has approved a deal struck between SingTel Optus and NBN Co (operator of the country’s new high-speed broadband network) to transfer broadband customers to the latter’s fibre network.
The competition watchdog has also approved the decommissioning of parts of SingTel Optus’s hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network, which was included in the deal the telco struck with NBN Co.
In a prepared statement, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “In coming to its final view the ACCC took account of a substantial amount of public and confidential information in addition to submissions received from interested parties in response to the draft decision. The ACCC remains of the view that the public benefits, which are clear and quantifiable, on balance outweigh the likely detriment.”
These benefits include eliminating the cost of operating the Optus HFC network to provide a service that the National Broadband Network will also provide, and lowering the cost of migrating customers over to the NBN.
The ACCC determined that SingTel Optus is unlikely to extend its HFC network beyond the 1.4 million homes it currently covers, and is also unlikely to make the investments needed to position the network’s capacity on a par with the NBN.
The NBN project is valued at A$38bn ($39bn) and is expected to take around a decade to complete, with 93 per cent of Australian premises to receive broadband via fibre optic cable, four per cent via fixed-wireless and the remaining three per cent by satellite.