NBN struggles to put the who in wholesale

The National Broadband Network Companies Bill is currently before the Senate, having passed through the Lower House earlier this month. This is the legislation that will determine what the NBN Co can and cannot do.

You don’t have to read too far into the legislation before you hit something contentious. In fact, the first dot point states that the NBN Co should operate as “a wholesale-only telecommunications company in terms of the services and goods it supplies, as well as the investments it makes”.

Everyone seems to agree with the intent, but there are a few definitions of what the word wholesale means. Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher, who chaired the Senate Committee investigating the Bill, would like to see it clarified with the stipulation that a company can buy from the NBN only “for the sole purpose of on-supply and not for its own internal use”.

It’s not a view everyone agrees with. Some see it as nothing more than an attempt to control the status quo of the industry and prevent new entrants from emerging.

That’s why, this week on Twisted Wire we spend 25 minutes trying to figure out what the word “wholesale” means. Next week, the word “pedantic” (only kidding!)

First published on ZDNet

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