Telstra owns the copper-wire network that connects most of Australia’s homes. This is changing. As the National Broadband Network (NBN) is built across Australia, NBN Co Ltd will take over the lines in most areas. Telstra will still be able to use the lines, but it will be on the same basis as any other business that resells phone and internet services to people.
Telstra will still own the lines inside the NBN wireless and satellite areas. It will also own the lines it provides to some customers, such as some large government agencies and businesses.
Structural separation refers to a company’s retail business, which deals directly with customers, being separated from its network business, which operates its infrastructure.
Telstra’s network and retail businesses are being separated to address concerns that their integrated operation was advantaging Telstra over its competitors and holding back competition. For example, there was scope for Telstra to favour its retail operations over those of other operators that also needed to use the Telstra network to compete.
Telstra is structurally separating by progressively migrating its retail services from its fixed-line networks onto the NBN. This is Telstra’s commercial decision.
The NBN is a wholesale-only, open access telecommunications platform, with strict requirements not to discriminate between service providers. This will allow services providers to compete with each other on an equitable basis.
Once this migration is complete, Telstra will no longer control the fixed-line telecommunications network that competitors use to service most Australian premises.
It was originally envisaged that Telstra’s structural separation would be completed on 1 July 2018. This is known as the Designated Day. However, as Telstra structural separation is dependent on completion of the NBN, the Designated Day has been changed to 1 January 2020.
Telstra’s commitments to structurally separate and migrate customers to the nbn are set out in its structural separation undertaking and migration plan.
Further information on the structural separation undertaking is available from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- Telecommunications (Structural Separation Undertaking—Networks and Services Exemption) Instrument 2011 PDF, 266.1 KB RTF, 328.0 KB DOCX, 37.9 KB
- Structural Separation Undertaking—Networks and Services Exemption—Explanatory Statement PDF, 178.6 KB RTF, 127.1 KB DOCX, 32.8 KB
- Telecommunications (Acceptance of Undertaking about Structural-Separation) Instrument 2011 PDF, 299.2 KB RTF, 128.8 KB DOCX, 33.4 KB
- Acceptance of Undertaking about Structural Separation—Matters—Explanatory Statement PDF, 198.3 KB RTF, 149.0 KB DOCX, 36.6 KB
The migration plan
As part of this transfer, Telstra prepared a migration plan saying how it would disconnect active copper services, how it would work with its wholesale customers in this process, and by when. The plan was approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The process was guided by the Minister’s determinations: