ACCC finalises list of NBN points of interconnect

Only three submissions were made to the ACCC after it announced it was seeking comment on the form of the Section 151DB list of POI.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has finalised the location of the 121 points of interconnect (POI) for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The location of the POIs have remained unchanged from the proposed list of locations the ACCC announced in August this year.

The finalisation of the POIs has been a long time in the making, with the ACCC kicking off the consultation process in October 2010, with NBN Co originally seeking 14 POIs.

Only three submissions were made to the ACCC after it announced in August this year that it was seeking comment on the form of the Section 151DB list of POI. Submissions were received from Telstra, Optus and Australian Private Networks.

Telstra's submission stated that information about the timing of the rollout of POIs, and how long the the interim POIs would be used for, is still an issue.

“This kind of information is crucial for RSPs [retail service providers — the NBN equivalent of ISPs] as it affects RSP capital expenditure plans and the planning for deployment of infrastructure at the POIs. The absence of such information may result in unnecessarily long lead times for RSP infrastructure deployment at the POI, financial losses to the RSP, and delays in the delivery of services to end users where NBN Co’s network has been rolled out,” Telstra said in its submission.

In its submission Optus called for more information on exactly which POIs served which NBN fibre serving areas (FSA).

“Given that FSA information is publicly available, its inclusion within the public NBN POI list should have no implications for national security and therefore Optus cannot see any reason for its exclusion,” Optus said.

Of the 121 POIs, 111 will be located at Telstra exchanges, with the remaining 10 to be housed in facilities built by NBN Co.

“The approach adopted for identifying the location of POIs promotes competition in the provision of backhaul transmission services and makes sure that existing transmission infrastructure is utilised. The section 151DB list of POIs sets the boundaries for NBN Co’s access network,” Rod Sims, ACCC chairman, said in a statement.

While the ACCC list of POIs names suburbs where they will be located, the exact address of POIs has remained confidential, with the ACCC citing security as a justification.

POIs have been a contentious issue, with several RSPs stating the large number of POIs, which was decided by the ACCC, is a barrier to entry.

“[When you have hundreds of POIs], no small company can do it on their own – you have to resell somebody else’s product, which means then there’s less margin in it for smaller ISPs. [There is] significantly less margin because then we’re the next carrier down,” Michael Blake, co-founder of Adelaide ISP Nuskope, has said.

Rene Sugo, CEO of VoIP services company and ISP MyNetFone, also believes RSPs will increase their NBN prices once interim points of interconnect (POI) are removed because current consumer prices are unsustainable.

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Tags Points of Internconnect (PoI)ACCCC

More about Australian Competition and Consumer CommissionAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionMyNetFoneOptusTelstra Corporation

6 Comments

Francis Young

1

My submission was ruled invalid, because the scope for submissions did not allow for the number of POIs to be disputed.

NBNCo engineers designed an optimal architecture with two redundant POIs in each capital city and a highly resilient intrastate network with multiple redundant routes to those cities. Incumbent fibre owners lobbied for 202 POIs, so they could force all competitors to buy their longhaul for regional access, and incredibly, the ACCC threw a dice and decreed in December 2010 that there shall be 121 POIs.

At a stroke, the ACCC ruined the open competition of the original POI design, and added additional operational expense for NBNCo to maintain country outposts, which has to be recovered by increasing the wholesale access costs for providers, in turn making services more expensive for retail customers. The ACCC thus hurt both Consumers and Competition.

This ACCC faux pas could have been due to a lack of technical understanding on its part, but it surely knows by now that it was a mistake, yet refused to accept submissions that the optimal architecture should be left to NBNCo to determine, in line with its parliamentary mandate and objectives.

reality

2

My understanding was that the original POI was optimal for emergency recovery in case of major disasters. Back in Dec 2010 Internode's Hackett called the many POI NBN model "insane" - http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/371840/many_poi_nbn_model_insane_says_hackett/
Maybe Conroy needs to be lobied by national emergency services to over-rule the ACCC and the Telstra/Optus lobby. How do we get this happening in the national interest, not just the small RSP's.

gnome

3

You have to wonder just what the ACCC was thinking, because it's not too clear from their mandated outcome.

Seeing that all service providers will theoretically have equal access to the fibre, it might have been a good idea to let the network architects actually design the network.

Benjamin

4

ACCC were in a hard position. Yes 14 POI is better network wise but competition wise, to existing backhaul operators it's a killer. If they ruled in favour of 14 POI they would be stopping existing competition. 121 was a compromise needed to allow existing competition to be retained. Whilst I hate to see the 121 I can understand it was a hard decision they had to make to allow it.

reality

5

When the disaster occurs, (Murphy says it will and remember the corollory. At the most inconvenient time) compromising the network and susequently emergency services falling over, will the ACCC's decision to support the big players be seen as correct? Even at this late stage fix it.

Francis Young

6

Benjamin, the four incumbent longhaul fibre lobbyists knew fully well that their asset would be utilised, firstly by their existing government and corporate VPN clients, and additionally by NBNCo itself as a consumer of that longhaul.

Frankly, their argument that their asset would be stranded is as believable as when banks cry poor to avoid passing on cash rate reductions, then proceed return record profits every year.

When the ACCC gave them what they asked, those telcos must have been as stunned as Julia Gillard was on election night 2010, when regional Australia delivered three seats to the independents because of coalition broadband policy, when everyone had expected a humiliating anti-Labor landslide to the coalition.

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