Telstra and NBN today have signed a deal that will see Telstra being paid $80 million in the first year of two new contracts to oversee, maintain and repair faults in its copper and HFC networks. "This is a big deal," a spokesperson for NBN told Gizmodo Australia — "it's the final piece of the NBN jigsaw puzzle".
While NBN has stated its own contractors will be responsible for getting a premises "network ready", with Telstra looking after post-NBN connection ongoing maintenance and repairs, Telstra has confirmed that "there's some work that we will be doing fixing the copper in the transition period".
The transition period relates to contract number one, which involves fixing faults on the copper network and undertaking a small number of new connections for services that are yet to transfer to the NBN, over an initial period of 3 years.
The second contract sees Telstra (along with other contractors Service Stream and BSA) fixing faults and connecting new services on the NBN for the Fibre to the Node (FTTN), Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) and HFC technologies once a customer has switched over to NBN. Telstra will oversee design and construction management throughout the four year contract.
Both contracts have the option to extend, and work is expected to begin in early 2016.
“I am delighted that we have an opportunity to support NBN by leveraging Telstra’s knowledge and experience in network design and construction management, as well as continued maintenance," said Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Penn, in a statement.
"We have said all along that we are committed to providing whatever commercial services NBN needs to meet its business objectives.”
The budget for the NBN has increased from $29.5 billion to $49 billion as of August 2015.
More on the NBN from Gizmodo Australia:
Today's news comes after a string of leaked documents have revealed costs to get both Telstra and Optus's networks in good working order for the NBN rollout. These documents state that remediation costs for Telstra’s copper node have reportedly totalled $641 million.
In 2010 NBN paid $800 million for Optus to de-commission its HFC network, and this year struck a deal with Optus to use it for broadband. NBN is currently in talks with the telco about future works amid revelations that parts of its network are "not fit for purpose" and could cost up to $375 million to fix.
"To optimise the network build and provide access to an excellent service for Australians, united partnerships with the construction and telecommunications industry are a key priority," said NBN CEO Bill Morrow.
"This year we have re-set our relationships with the industry by improving the way we collaborate and structure competitive, flexible agreements with our partners."