Telstra will roll out Fibre-to-the Node to some 206,000 premises on behalf of NBN Co in a major trial of the Coalition’s preferred wireline broadband platform.
Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the trial represents an “interim step” while negotiations with Telstra for access to its copper assets nationally are being finalised.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the contract is worth about $150 million, implying a cost per premises passed of some $728.
This contrasts with contract prices for the full fibre roll-out (FTTP) which the E-bulletin understands were generally in the $1,000 – 1,200 range, prices on which prime contractors lost money.
The trial will be held in NSW and Queensland and, as anticipated by the E-bulletin, will be conducted largely in regional areas. These include areas which have been categorised as “underserved” and which the Coalition has said it will make a priority in any roll-out.
Deployment in these areas will also allow testing of the economics of FTTN, as opposed to wireless platforms, at the margin of the proposed fixed network footprint.
It remains to be seen what elements of the roll-out will be conducted by Telstra itself and what will be contracted out.
The CWU is seeking a briefing from Telstra on the trial and its implications for our members, including as regards retraining and redeployment opportunities within Telstra.