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The drawn-out negotiations over the National Broadband Network’s wholesale contract offering have concluded with a rush of ISPs agreeing to an amended contract announced yesterday.

Wrangling over contract details such as liability in dealings with customers, force majure events and other legal details had been painted by Australian media as some kind of failure by the government, rather than a commercial negotiation.

As final details of the contract were agreed, providers then queued up to sign on the dotted line. iPrimus made the first “we’re in” announcement followed in short order by iiNet and Internode, with Telstra and Optus expected to get their signatures past their much larger legal teams after a few more billable days.

With the existing agreements covering trial customers expiring yesterday, the negotiations were being conducted under a deadline, since with no wholesale agreement in place, new customers could not be connected (for some reason, the idea that nothing could happen without a contract in place was interpreted as a ‘ban’ on new connections in the press).

Primus Australia CEO Tom Mazerski yesterday said “we already have a voice network in place with many voice-only customers, which puts us in a leading position to ensure that under the NBN our voice customers will continue to receive the highest quality services.”

These agreements will run for twelve months while the network build continues and while the final service elements are put in place.®

-- With Richard Chirgwin &reg

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