An alternative rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) could be “doomed to fail” if it used the hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network as a key part of the network, according to the Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC).
The CCC represents Teltra’s competitors – AAPT, Adam Internet, iinet, Macquarie Telecom, NextGen and Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
Last night, Malcolm Turnbull, shadow communications minister, said a Coalition government would not build the NBN in areas currently serviced by HFC in the "near term”, which employs a mix of copper and fibre, covering around 30 per cent of Australia.
"You wouldn't be overbuilding the HFC areas in the near term because they're getting very good service already,” he said on ABC's Lateline program.
Turnbull has previously indicated he would retain the HFC network in order to remove “barriers to competition” with the NBN.
But Matt Healy, chairman of the CCC, said a Coalition NBN would significantly undermine competition and customers would suffer if fibre was not deployed in the HFC footprint.
“These comments ignore the reality that such a proposal would mean that for 30 per cent of the population there would be no effective competitive broadband market,” Healy said.
The CCC believed using the HFC as a key element of a national broadband network would create an “unlevel playing field” where Telstra would have a substantial amount of market power, which could be used to stifle competition.
“The net result would be the collapse of national broadband competition,” the CCC said in a statement.
The CCC said the opposition’s plan for the NBN would breach the “fundamental principles” of competition whereby policy must help to maximise competition.
“The CCC [calls] on the opposition to immediately abandon the idea of drawing a boundary around a national broadband network that excluded … crucial parts of the country,” it said.
Turnbull recently told Computerworld Australia a Coalition government would honour existing contracts for the NBN and consider negotiating a round of further contracts to complete the roll out of a national network based on fibre-to-the-node technology, instead of fibre-to-the-premises.
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