Telstra is preparing to buy NBN – but not before huge hit to taxpayers

It’s looking increasingly likely that the fates of Telstra and NBN Co will converge, probably not long beyond 2022, resulting in the reinstatement of Telstra’s fixed line monopoly and a brutal recognition of reality for taxpayers.

Two sets of comments this week, from Telstra chairman John Mullen and Labor’s shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland, illustrate how the preconditions for a restructuring of the fixed line segment of the telecommunications sector are starting to form.

It was apparent from the moment Telstra chief executive Andy Penn unveiled his “T22’’ strategy earlier this year that Telstra is positioning itself for an acquisition of NBN Co once the national broadband network rollout is completed.

A key element of the strategy is the separation of Telstra’s infrastructure, other than that which supports its wireless network, from its retail businesses.

Telstra InfraCo, a standalone entity, will house the group’s fixed networks, data centres, non-mobile fibre, the HFC network, international sub-sea cables, exchanges, ducts, pipes, NBN-related revenues and relationships and Telstra Wholesale.

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