iPrimus and iiNet can now add new customers to the National Broadband Network (NBN) after last-minute negotiations, putting pressure on the ISPs who are yet to sign an agreement with the NBN Co.
The NBN Co, which is building the national fibre-optic network, requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sign a commercial agreement before they can start adding new customers after the trial period ends.
While 17 ISPs had already signed the agreement, many of the larger companies have been holding out for a better deal.
"We are delighted to be a part of such an important agreement for the future of the telecommunications industry in Australia. Primus is an established leader in high speed broadband fibre connections and we expect to continue our leadership position as the NBN continues its rollout," said Primus Australia CEO Tom Mazerski.
The agreement with the NBN is a 'major milestone' iPrimus said in a statement.
iiNet, which had been negotiating on issues such as who bears the liability to customers when there are problems with the infrastructure, quickly followed iPrimus in signing the deal.
"After negotiations with NBN Co, final changes to the wholesale broadband agreement [WBA] resolved earlier key sticking points, in particular: issues relating to appropriate sharing of risk and liability resulting from use of the network,'' iiNet's chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, told Fairfax Media.
"We welcome NBN Co’s changes to the original WBA as a sensible and positive approach. Our product development, testing and marketing will continue uninterrupted, which is a very positive outcome for NBN Co, iiNet and, most importantly, our new NBN customers."
With iiNet and iPrimus on board, the pressure is on for other ISPs who are still holding out for a better deal to sign up. The NBN Co will not allow ISPs to add new customers until a commercial agreement has been reached.
The wholesale broadband agreement is the NBN Co's contract with ISPs to provide services on the network. The initial agreement went through five rounds of consultation, five discussion drafts and hundreds of hours of face-to-face discussions, according to the NBN Co.
The NBN Co estimates that by the end of 2012, over 975,000 households and businesses across Australia will be covered by NBN services, and aims to connect three million homes over the next three years.