ACCC proposes to declare a Superfast Broadband Access Service

6 November 2015

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a draft decision proposing to declare a Superfast Broadband Access Service (SBAS).

Currently, some superfast broadband services are already declared, some are subject to carrier licence conditions, others are subject to ministerial exemptions with conditions, while still others aren’t regulated at all.

“Declaring an SBAS will go some way to simplifying and clarifying the regulations that apply in this area, and give access seekers certainty about gaining wholesale access to services on these networks,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC proposes that telecommunications providers be allowed access to services with a downstream data rate normally more than 25 Mbps on all fixed line networks. Access will not be required where the network operator is already facing competition from alternative fixed network providers.

“The ACCC considers declaration of an SBAS will promote the long-term interests of end-users because it is likely to promote competition between telecommunications providers supplying services to end-users,” Mr Sims said.

The declaration will not apply to services:

  • supplied by NBN Co
  • supplied on HFC networks that will be transferred to NBN Co
  • that are regulated under the ACCC’s Local Bitstream Access Service declaration

as such services are, or soon will be, subject to other telecommunications access regulation under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The ACCC’s draft declaration would apply to services supplied on:

  • Telstra’s FTTP networks in South Brisbane and Velocity estates
  • iiNet’s VDSL network in the ACT and HFC networks in regional Victoria
  • TPG’s FTTB networks
  • Spirit Telecom’s FTTB networks
  • other networks that supply superfast carriage services, including superfast broadband networks that existed before 1 January 2011 (which are not subject to Part 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1997)

The ACCC invites submissions on a number of aspects of the decision. In particular, comments are sought on the likely costs of complying with the declaration and whether it would be appropriate to exempt smaller providers on this basis.

The draft decision is available at http://www.accc.gov.au/regulated-infrastructure/communications/superfast-broadband-access-service-declaration-inquiry

The closing date for submissions is Friday 4 December 2015.

Background

On 11 September 2014, the ACCC commenced a declaration inquiry into whether a superfast broadband access service, such as the very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) service, should be regulated under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACCC commenced this declaration in response to competition concerns raised by the panel conducting the Independent Cost Benefit Analysis and Review of Regulation.

On 6 May 2015, the ACCC released a discussion paper regarding the SBAS declaration inquiry. The discussion paper sought industry views regarding whether a SBAS should be declared and the scope of any service description. Nine submissions were received.

The ACCC was required to declare the Local Bitstream Access Services (LBAS) under legislative amendments introduced in 2011, associated with the NBN and Part 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. The ACCC declared the LBAS in 2012. The LBAS declaration requires operators of fixed superfast broadband networks built, upgraded, altered or extended by more than 1 km after 1 January 2011 to provide access to a layer 2, 25/5 Mbps service upon request.

Release number: 
MR 217/15
Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

Tags

Audience