NBN Co takes Pipe Networks to court

NBN Co opens new front in TPG FTTB conflict

NBN Co has opened a new front in its conflict with TPG over the telco's fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) rollout.

NBN Co has taken TPG subsidiary Pipe Networks to court, filing proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday last week.

The government-owned company overseeing the rollout of the National Broadband Network is alleging that the wholly owned TPG subsidiary has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

NBN Co and TPG have both been approached for comment.

Computerworld Australia understands that Pipe has been accused of misleading the owners of apartments where FTTB services are being rolled out in regards to their obligations to provide power to the network operator's equipment.

A directions hearing for the case is scheduled for 24 October.

The Australian initially reported the court action.

NBN Co earlier this year announced a commercial response to TPG's rollout, seeking to roll out its own services to apartment blocks (or so-called 'multi-dwelling units') in a number of Australian cities.

The court action comes as the government seeks to limit the threat TPG's FTTB rollout poses to NBN Co.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced in September that TPG had not violated 'anti-cherry-picking' rules with its rollout of FTTB services.

The anti-cherry-picking rules are designed to prevent network operators building infrastructure in low-cost or high-value areas that will compete with the NBN.

NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski has previously indicated that the "economics of NBN would be severely impacted" if telcos do an end-run around anti-cherry-picking rules.

In the wake of the ACCC's announcement, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would take action to force telcos that want to build infrastructure to deliver 'superfast' (25Mbps or faster) broadband services to residential users to undergo functional separation.

Read more: Telstra makes case for wholesale price hike

Telcos would have to establish separate wholesale and retail arms and offering access to their infrastructure to competing retail service providers.

Turnbull yesterday announced the new draft licence condition that would be imposed on carriers. Under the new licence condition, carriers will be forced to offer the same terms to competitors as they do to their retail arms.

NBN Co will also be in court on 29 October for a directions hearing in its case against Telstra. NBN Co is appealing a decision earlier this year, relating to how CPI adjustments are calculated in the company's $11 billion agreement with Telstra.

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