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Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Page: 5428

Senator CONROY (VictoriaMinister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity) (18:39): I think the final agreement is pretty much the same as that which Telstra used to charge for installation. Telstra did not charge developers anything to install—it is what still happens today. Telstra does not charge anything to provide the copper into the home. It makes its money from the usage of the product. It may not be exactly the same—I have not seen all the final documents on this because there is still lengthy discussion and negotiation—but Telstra itself used to provide all of the connections. The developers would open up their pits and Telstra would run the copper in and connect the phones. I am happy to provide to you any further information that may be available.

Developers can source fibre from competing fibre providers if they want. Other providers can compete to provide infra¬≠structure in new developments—for example, by offering bespoke solutions to developers or more expeditious delivery. NBN Co.'s role in new developments reflects its role in rolling out the NBN nationally. Where NBN Co. provides fibre it will recover the cost on a national basis and over a longer time horizon, just as Telstra has done historically with its copper network. It is up to other providers as to how they charge and recover their costs. If alternative providers want to compete with NBN Co. they are welcome to do so, but it is on the understanding that they have the resources and capacity to do so.

I am not sure there is much I am going to be able to add to that, no matter how many times or ways you rephrase the question, Senator Birmingham.