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NBN a windfall for law firms (1)

NBN a windfall for law firms (1)

Telstra has signed definitive agreements with both NBN Co and the Commonwealth for participation in the roll out of the National Broadband Network, worth $9 bn. Which lawyers worked on the deal?


Last week Telstra signed definitive agreements with both NBN Co and the Commonwealth for participation in the roll out of the National Broadband Network, worth $9 billion. 


Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Blake Dawson, Gilbert + Tobin, and Mallesons Stephen Jaques all scooped work on the deal. 


Mallesons had about 100 lawyers, including 10 partners on the deal, advising Telstra. The firm was a key strategic advisor to Telstra, and advised on all aspects of the client's negotiation of network shutdown, migration and infrastructure-sharing arrangements with NBN Co.


Mallesons' Cheng Lim said the deal will reshape the telecommunications industry in Australia and is the most important project to Telstra's future.


He added: "It was a groundbreaking and immensely complicated transaction, with real challenges in managing complex contractual risk allocations in a heavily regulated environment."


Will Irving, the Group General Counsel of Telstra, said of Mallesons' role: "No other firm had the depth of talent and experience to be able to do this in a transaction of this size and complexity".


Corrs Chambers Westgarth advised the Government on the $9 billion definitive agreements between Telstra and NBN Co. The Telstra / NBN Co agreements form part of the suite of agreements between NBN Co, Telstra and the Commonwealth relating to structural separation, the implementation of the NBN and associated reforms.


Those agreements include an agreement concerning the fulfilment of the universal service obligation (USO) in the new NBN world signed today by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Telstra. The USO arrangements also include the establishment of a new agency to oversee the USO. That agency will be called the Telecommunications Universal Services Management Agency.


Corrs advised the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on the USO reforms and has worked for many months to prepare and negotiate the USO agreement with Telstra. 


The Corrs team was led by partners Thomas Jones, Andrew Messenger, Byron Koster, and James North and special counsel Andrea Kennedy.


Corrs partner Thomas Jones said: “The USO agreement will be a key plank of regulation in the new NBN world. The Corrs team has worked for many months with the Department to assist in delivering this outcome for the Commonwealth. We look forward to continuing to work with the Department in relation to the implementation of these reforms.”


Blake Dawson advised NBN Co on the deal, with partners Bruce Macdonald, Tim Brookes, Carl Della-Bosca, Kevin Arkwright, Mel Harris as lead advisers. Clayton Utz also advised NBN Co. 


Gilbert + Tobin advised Telstra on the deal, lead by Peter Waters, Bill Spain, Moya Dodd and Cameron Whittfield. Mallesons also advised Telstra, with 10 lead partners working on the deal. Mallesons and Clayton Utz have been key legal advisers to Telstra since the NBN negotiations commenced. 


Mallesons said the next step is seeking ACCC and shareholder approvals for the transaction.


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