The Australian telecommunications firm, Telstra, has expressed interest in acquiring the nation’s National Broadband Network (NBN).
The NBN is currently owned by the government, but Telstra would consider buying the network if it went private through its infrastructure business, InfraCo.
The interest was announced at the company’s annual general meeting on 16 October by John Mullen, Telstra’s Chairperson.
“We believe at some stage the issue with the NBN will have to be addressed by government of one side or the other, and we want to be in a position to capture the benefit for Telstra shareholders should that happen,” stated Mullen.
“NBN Co pays Telstra about $1 billion a year for accessing all its ducts and the like. If and when NBN Co is privatised we think there could be - only could be, no certainty - a lot of value uplift to Telstra shareholders if there was some form of combination of that infrastructure business [InfraCo] with the NBN.”
Mullen revealed that the company would never be able to acquire the network, but its standalone unit could.
“The competition authorities would never allow us to have a commercial relationship or tie-up with NBN Co.”
“But were the companies separated, we potentially could.”
InfraCo was introduced as part of the company’s T22 strategy – which it established in summer earlier this year.
“It may happen next year, it may happen in five years, or it may never happen, but we would like to be in a position to move quickly if indeed there is an opportunity there to capture a lot of that value arbitrage uplift.”