NBN Co, the company building and operating Australia’s broadband access network, has released a telecommunications industry consultation paper to explore possible approaches for the procurement of additional dark fibre services from network operators in customer locations already served by existing fibre. NBN Co plans to increase its deployment of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) services using the spare capacity in Australia’s existing stock of dark fibre infrastructure.
The company is proposing two possible approaches to customer premises dark fibre procurement. Option One involves the expansion of NBN Co’s current Request For Proposal (RFP) process in which the company would request one or more pre-qualified nbn-approved suppliers to provide a proposal to supply dark fibre connectivity services at specific locations to support the delivery of either NBN’s TC2 or Enterprise Ethernet service.
Under Option Two, NBN Co plans to establish an industry-wide reverse auction process by which the company would periodically conduct reverse auctions allowing existing fibre network providers to bid, on a confidential basis, to supply NBN Co with dark fibre connectivity services to specified locations on specific, pre-determined standard terms and conditions.
NBN Co seeks to facilitate the use of third-party dark fibre connections, and reduce the expected economic costs and/or time to delivery compared to NBN Co deploying its own infrastructure (including applying a commercial cost of capital no less than the rate agreed with the ACCC in its Special Access Undertaking).
Network operators can submit their comments and recommendations on NBN Co’s proposals by 24 February.