Feeds

ACCC set to okay Optus HFC exit

Monopoly concerns outweighed by consumer benefits, apparently

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Optus will exit the HFC business and pocket $AU800 million, if yesterday’s proposed determination from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stands.

The draft determination from the ACCC would allow Optus to pass its HFC customers to the National Broadband Network as it rolls out, and once the rollout is complete, to decommission the network, which has a footprint in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Calling the decision “finely balanced”, the regulator decided that the NBN handover would avoid the cost of operating the HFC network in competition with the NBN and reduce the cost of migrating HFC subscribers to the new fibre-to-the-home infrastructure.

Although the Optus-NBN Co deal reduces competition, the ACCC also noted that Optus is unlikely to extend its network beyond its current footprint, and with the NBN as its competitor, is unlikely to stump up the capital required for future upgrades to the HFC infrastructure.

The ACCC also noted that Optus’ services would only compete with the NBN “at the lower end of the range of services that the NBN will support”.

Moreover, the ACCC’s statement notes, should Optus lose too many customers to the NBN, its HFC network would become uneconomic to operate.

In a more optimistic era, Optus used to trumpet its network as passing more than two million homes. However, many of those are unserviceable (mostly because Optus does not offer HFC to apartments or other ‘multi-dwelling units’), leaving only 1.4 million homes able to be connected. Of those, fewer than 500,000 are connected, with around 400,000 taking a broadband service.

The network has suffered overbuild in the past – during the 1990s, Optus was shadowed practically house-by-house as Telstra rolled out its own HFC cable. That battle finally ended in the early 2000s when both carriers halted their rollouts and wrote down the networks’ book value.

Although now operating DOCSIS 3.0 technology, the two cable networks have themselves represented a competition sore point, with providers like Internode criticizing their lack of wholesale broadband access.

Communications Day is reporting that the "last man standing" in the HFC business, iiNet-owned TransACT, remains hopeful that it can secure a similar deal and avoid overbuild of its networks in the ACT and regional Victoria. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.