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Drowning in a sea of paperwork, that is.

Commercial terms for the $11 billion NBN deal with Telstra have been finalised – at long last.

This latest stepping stone, the agreeing of terms which will pave the way for NBN to make use of Telstra’s copper fibre assets to rollout the broadband network, is in return for a tidy $11 billion fee to the Telco.

But it appears to be along road ahead until broadband rollout, with the ACCC and Telstra shareholders just some of the additional parties who must agree to the deal terms before final sign off.  

Other terms have also been outlined “in principle” the Communications minister announced this morning including retraining Telstra’s workforce to deploy the NBN and revisions to the governments public service obligation. 

“This is another significant step forward in the delivery of the NBN,” Senator Conroy said.

“Along with allowing for a cheaper, more efficient rollout of the NBN, the in principle agreement ensures there is continuity of all basic universal service outcomes for consumers while the country transitions onto the NBN.”

However, the deal isn’t finalised yet so could be subject to change. 

Telstra confirmed yesterday they were in talks with the NBN in a bid to finalise the deal terms, acknowledging the process was lengthy and cumbersome, at best.

When challenged by journalists yesterday about the length the process was taking, CEO David Thodey quipped; “well, have you ever dealt with lawyers?”  

 

He also confirmed his company has thought about the politics involved and what may arise if the Liberal party, who are strongly opposed to the deal were to get into power. 

Telstra are to commission an independent expert report which will be presented to shareholders later this year.

The Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will also have to scrutinise the deal as part of its consideration of Telstra’s Structural Separation Undertaking, the minister Stephen Conroy said.

However, it appears the gloss could be taken from the NBN’s claimed broadband speeds by the time it finally does come to fruition, with the news last week that WiFi speeds of 1 gigabyte will be in Australia by 2012 – matching that of the network.

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