Telstra, which was late last year, has long claimed it is .
Dark fibre is a reference to optic cables that are deployed but not yet switched on by service providers.
Local telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the government will need to cleave Telstra into separate wholesale and retail entities, despite its ejection from the NBN process, to make the fibre available to competitors. "They have 5000 fibre exchanges even in rural areas -- somewhere between 50 to 80 percent is unavailable because there is no incentive to make it available on wholesale," Budde said.
"It is more profitable to leave them unavailable or under-utilised -- I'm 80 percent sure the government will functionally separate Telstra to make use of the [dark] fibre because it does not make sense to overbuild, especially in the tight economic times.
"Separation will likely be slowed in parliament and through the courts by Telstra and [shadow communications minister] will oppose separation but we are doing something for the next 25 years, so we now can't rush into a half-baked solution."