Internode: Minister Wrong, NBN Still ‘Insane’

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ISP hits out at Minister after claims it failed to highlight its NBN misgivings to the ACCC.
It’s the latest NBN cat fight in what seems to be an endless round of squabbles plaguing the project – before it even gets off the ground.

Just last week, Internode MD Simon Hackett branded the NBN’s pricing model as “insane” for smaller ISP’s and claimed it would only be feasible for bigger players like itself, Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet – all ISPs with more than 250,000 customers.

However, following this, the Minister for Broadband and Communications Senator Conroy hit back saying this view was never aired to the ACCC.

 “The complaint being made by Internode is a very important contribution, and it would’ve been really fantastic for [it] it to have made that argument to the ACCC,” he told the ABC.

“They didn’t actually put in a submission to the ACCC’s inquiry on this very matter.”

Conroy also went on to say:”What essentially Internode are complaining about is that the ACCC decision to move from 14 POIs (Points of Interconnect) – the NBN’s preferred position — to 121 POIs, they believe was not the best decision.

The Adelaide based ISP says this is an “erroneous claim” and have offered to provide him with a copy of its ACCC submission from November 8- which is available on the latter’s website. 

In that seven-page submission, it warned about the anti-competitive impact of the NBN requiring companies to interconnect with the network at a large number of locations nationally.

 

“This model becomes worse if each access seeker or service provider must provide their own connection to the distant town,” the submission stated. 

“There is no economy of scale to be enjoyed and small service providers must either abandon the attempt to service subscribers or acquire a wholesale managed service from a POI more conveniently located.

It also warned the risk of duopoly amongst service providers which will result in rapid “increase in retail prices,” and the implosion of some other providers, the submission also warned.

Hackett today stated he hoped to encourage Senator Conroy to focus on this critical issue for the competitiveness of the Australian telecommunications industry “Internode absolutely has been ringing this bell early and often,” he said.

“Our submissions to the ACCC are on the public record, so it is rather curious that the Senator is perpetuating this erroneous claim about our conduct in this context.

“Internode has been providing public submissions on this and related topics at every step along the process concerned, and it remains of deep concern to us that those warnings are being ignored.

 

Indeed, it is this close participation that has served to highlight to us the critical nature of the flaws in the current pricing model for the network.”

This is not the only criticism of Stephen Conroy and the NBN in the last week.

The NBN has come in for heavy criticism from opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, a vocal critic of the $36bn NBN, has called on the communications minister to explain where the newly stalled NBN tenders leaves the project.

Read Turnbull Ups Pressure On NBN here

The NBN Co called a halt to tender negotiations with major contractors after claiming its pricing schemes were too high. 

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