On 23 June 2011, NBN Co and Telstra announced that binding agreements (the Telstra Definitive Agreements or the DAs) had been entered into for the rollout of the nbn™ access network. The DAs became unconditional following the satisfaction of conditions precedent including Telstra shareholder approval in November 2011 and ACCC acceptance of Telstra’s Migration Plan and Structural Separation Undertaking in March 2012.
Following the completion of the 2013 Strategic Review, the Government provided NBN Co with a new Statement of Expectations under which the nbn™ access network rollout was to transition from a primarily FTTP model to an MTM model. On 14 December 2014, NBN Co and Telstra announced they had renegotiated the DAs and entered into a number of new agreements to provide for the shift to an MTM network rollout (the Revised Definitive Agreements or the RDAs). The RDAs came into effect on 26 June 2015 after all conditions precedent were either satisfied or waived.
As with the DAs, the RDAs provide NBN Co access to certain Telstra network infrastructure including ducts, pits, lead-in conduits (ownership of lead-in conduits transfers to NBN Co), exchange rack space and dark fibre to facilitate the efficient rollout of the nbn™ access network. The RDAs also continue to require Telstra to progressively disconnect premises connected to its copper and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) networks (subject to exceptions for certain copper-based services and pay-TV services provided over parts of the spectrum on the HFC network) as the nbn™ access network is rolled out.1 Telstra will continue to be entitled to payments from NBN Co for disconnecting premises from its networks, and NBN Co continues to expense these payments.
In addition, the RDAs allow NBN Co to progressively take ownership of, and the operational and maintenance responsibility for, elements of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks and use of those network elements where it represents the fastest and most cost effective way to deliver fast broadband to families and businesses. These copper and HFC network elements are being used as access technologies as part of the overall design of the MTM rollout.
The payment structure remains linked to the rollout of the nbn™ access network. Under the RDAs, once NBN Co starts acquiring the assets forming part of Telstra’s HFC network, NBN Co has an obligation to continue to acquire all of Telstra’s HFC network. In July 2016 NBN Co commenced the acquisition of assets forming part of Telstra’s HFC network. Capital commitments in respect of the RDAs are disclosed in Note F3 and reflect NBN Co’s obligation to continue to acquire all of Telstra’s HFC network.
Under the RDAs, NBN Co has also agreed to reimburse Telstra for any direct, reasonable, substantiated and incremental (DRSI) costs incurred as a result of the move from the FTTP rollout to the MTM rollout, subject to certain exceptions. NBN Co is capitalising these costs as they are incurred.
As with the DAs, the estimated value of the RDAs is based on a range of dependencies and assumptions over the long-term life of the agreements. On a like for like basis, the estimated net present value payable to Telstra under the RDAs is equivalent to that under the DAs.
The RDAs contain an arrangement relating to the nbn™ access network rollout cessation and related consequences for NBN Co. In addition, there are provisions relating to NBN Co’s liability for performing work on Telstra’s live networks (refer to Note H5).
1 Services provided over the nbn™ access network will replace phone and internet services provided over most of the existing landline networks, including copper and the majority of HFC networks within the fixed-line footprint. Services provided over existing fibre networks (including in-building, health and education networks) and some special and business services may not be affected.