By Simon Bond

The NSW Government is taking advantage of the current property boom to sell some of their redundant property assets, they obviously see a great window of opportunity to get some cash into the coffers whilst the opportunity presents itself.

Back on April 25th, 2011 we opined that Telstra had a significant amount of lazy assets sitting around on the balance sheet and we wondered how long it would take to realise the opportunity. Well four years has past and the property market is booming Australia wide.

Back then we wrote; "The exchanges all around Australia could also be used as data centres as they are all already connected by fibre. Some exchanges may become redundant as technology moves forward and the prime locations of where the exchanges are located would have many a property developer salivating at the prospects of redevelopment.

According to recent Telstra records that I located there are 1,043 Telstra telephone exchanges in Sydney, 1,095 in Melbourne, 605 in Brisbane, 369 in Perth, 252 in Adelaide and 95 in Hobart. Many of these exchanges could be converted to cloud based computing operations and data centres offering hardware and software to access web based applications. The IP infrastructure used by companies such as Telstra is better suited to cloud services.

By way of illustration as to where some of these Exchanges are located please see below.

Melbourne snapshot.

Brighton 9
South Yarra 15
Sandringham 8
Mount Eliza 5
Kew 7
Hawthorn 8

Sydney snapshot.

Mosman 4
Cremorne 15
Hunters Hill 6
Paddington 11
Waverley 12
Manly 8

Across Australia there are thousands of other well-positioned Telstra Exchanges that may fit well for future requirements, in fact the total number that I identified was 6,353. I even have the spreadsheet listing every Telstra Exchange

The Telstra 2014 Annual report has their property assets in the balance sheet (see note 13) at a written down value of $19,842,000,000. I am no valuer, however a rudimentary glance at their 6,353 properties and a calculator in hand would suggest that the increase in their property values over the past 4 years would not be insignificant.

Surely there are global infrastructure players, investment banks, private equity businesses, property developers and many others who would love to do a deal. Imagine the employment opportunities that the redevelopment of these properties would create, from builders to landscapers, to tradies from all walks of life who may very well be sitting idly by with little or no work due to the slowdown in the mining boom and related industries.

What a way to get Australia moving again. Simple but probably too hard.

If the Government and Telstra could just set up a joint venture public / private partnership imagine the possibilities, forget the NBN for now, by the time that gets rolled out in it's current form it will have been passed over by new technologies.

A superloop will have run rings around them by then.