Telstra attempts Optus ULL Unplugging

Telstra has approached the ACCC to legislate against Optus’s usage of ULL networks, where they refuse to connect buildings such as flats, units, etc.

Optus refuses to connect such customers, but will happily connect them to ULL based infrastructure where Optus supplies the internet service and phone line to customers.

Such a move means that Optus effectively doesn’t invest in its own network, and uses a lazy approach to expanding its network. Optus, by only handling the easier household connections effectively then uses Telstra infrastructure for purposes where it could easily satisfy connections using HFC Cable.

Personally, I think Optus need to stop being so lazy, and get the network spread out, even into flats so that they get the maximum benefit of not using Telstra’s network at all. They still would have to pay for ULL.

Telstra’s argument here is to try and get a decision to cut Optus off ULL where HFC services exist, and encourage Optus to use its own infrastructure, clearly Telstra doesn’t want its $14/line that it would get from ULL.

Or, perhaps Telstra realises the market is aware that Optus doesn’t connect Cable services to flats and instead, uses ULL, and where Optus will be declined ULL, they might see this as a move that means they can’t get Optus services anymore?

Either way, I do think Telstra is right. Optus have a complete HFC network running down streets. They have every oppourtunity to use that in flats, units and other style buildings but refuse ot.

They could easily have installed into flats and avoided Telstra completely. Optus could then use its own HFC network as the basis of providing its triple play services.

ULL connections are cheaper for Optus to connect, requiring just $99 for a technician visit to the exchange and moving the line over to Optus infrastructure, whereby the customer then accesses phone and net services solely from Optus.

Will they succeed in this endeavour with the ACCC to get them to block Optus for access to Telstra copper where Optus has HFC capable of servicing premises?

I sort of hope so. Optus clearly don’t need to invest in ADSL2+ technology in metro areas, they can provide all 3 services, phone, TV and internet off the HFC network. The only problem they have with connection is the higher cost of flats, but once installed the profit can easily be ongoing.

The dollars spent on ADSL2+ duplicating its own HFC network could easily have been put into Regional areas and its own (completely own funded) broadband network.

They could have ran Fibre, and started WiMAX and ADSL2+ services in Regional areas with $0 from the government, and then got subsidies for the hard to reach areas.

I find myself agreeing with Telstra a deal here. Optus have the technology already in place to provide services, there’s no point taking the easier way out and using ULL to supply a service they could perhaps profit more longterm off by providing it off the HFC network.


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