Cabling dispute hits 101 Collins

Building manager blocks cables by arguing entire building is telecommunications facility.

Building manager blocks cables by arguing entire building is telecommunications facility.

PIPE Networks is seeking court protection to install fibre-optic cables inside the prestigious office block 101 Collins Street, after the building manager argued that the entire building was a telecommunications facility.

If the court agrees with the building owner's position, it could create unprecedented restrictions on telecommunications infrastructure for tenants within 101 Collins, which houses blue-chip tenants such as Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan.

Pipe Networks has started legal action against Property Communications Management, known as PropertyComm, which was granted ''operational control'' of the building by manager 101 Collins Pty Ltd and owner Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) about a year ago.

Pipe Networks alleged in a statement filed with the Federal Court in Melbourne that it was told access to the building would be granted only under schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act, when access was normally granted under schedule 3.

Schedule 1 has far more onerous conditions and usually applies to single cabinets, ducts or telephone exchanges.

Pipe Networks has an agreement with equities trading platform operator IRESS to install broadband cables between IRESS's data centres and brokers' offices, and was due to install cables between Macquarie Equities offices on level 24 of 101 Collins and the building's technology hub on level 5.

This is the first telecommunications application since PropertyComm was granted control. If PropertyComm succeeds, it could ask for more compensation or tighter infrastructure conditions than normal. It would also set a precedent within 101 and for other buildings.

PropertyComm, which has a carrier licence, was set up in May last year.

It has two directors, Sue Davey and Robert Reid, according to documents lodged with the corporate regulator, and 101 Collins Pty Ltd is believed to be its only customer.

All parties declined to comment as the matter was still before the courts.

According to court documents, PropertyComm sent Pipe a letter on October 5, stating: ''? the rights of Pipe Networks to access the building ? for the purpose of installing its proposed facilities for Macquarie Equities are subject to the rights granted to PropertyComm to exercise operation control over the building in accordance with schedule 1.''

Pipe Networks wants Justice Shane Marshall to determine what facilities in the building are within schedule 1, and to grant it access to the building through court orders.

''The substantive issue which arises in these proceeding is whether the provisions of schedule 1 have any application to the proposed installation by Pipe of the IRESS optical-fibre cable at the building. Pipe maintains that they do not,'' Pipe said in court documents.

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