Telstra has previously said it has contingency plans in place in the event of a change in government.
But yesterday they confirmed the plans in more detail to investors, who have already expressed frustration with Telstra’s NBN strategy.
This would involve a “blended” approach, using a mixture of both existing copper fibre and also newer fibre technology.
“We would provide high-speed broadband in a different way. We would have a least-cost, blended technology approach, revealed its Chief Financial Officer, John Stanhope.
We would perhaps use some fibre to the premises in some circumstances, we would use fibre to the node in some circumstances, and we would continue broadband over copper in some circumstances.”
Telstra have made no secret of the fact they have a contingency plan in place if a change in political leadership called a halt to NBN proceeding in its current form, which they previously alluded to at their financial results announcement last month.
Its also clear that cooperation with the national broadband plan was given a helping hand by the $11bn deal carved with the NBN Co to lease out its fibre network, which the telco must be hoping will act as a sweetener when the deal comes up for approval in a shareholders meeting due to take place next July.
The lease, rather than sell off, arrangment that has been agreed between the two parties is part of the contingency plan.
“Given that the government has made the decision to roll out fibre to premises, Telstra has two options — to compete with the NBN network or to co-operate with NBN Co, which includes that package of $11bn,” Stanhope said yesterday.
The telco also recently announced its new LTE Wireless network, or Long-Term Evolution standard, which is capable of peak download speeds as high as 150 megabits a second, which some interpreted as a competing network to the NBN.
The $35bn fibre network project, proposed by Julia Gillard’s Labour government, has been the subject of intense criticism from the opposition who have been vocal opponents of the high cost of the plan.
Any change in government would most certainly put a spanner in the works, leaving Telstra with an $11bn deal to sell its fibre network gone sour as well as an inept broadband provision strategy.
Future Fund, the Telco’s biggest shareholder also recently reduced its stake in the company in December to 6.76 per cent from 7.8 per cent due to uncertainty over NBN and Telstra’s deal to sell off its copper line network.
Opposition spokesman Malcolm Turnbull who has been pushing for a wireless network as a means to save billions in roll out costs has agreed with the outlined strategy, telling The Australian: “John Stanhope has described precisely what any rational person would do: deliver broadband by whatever technologies are most cost-effective.”