The ACCC today announced it will not make a decision on NBN Co’s proposed variation to its special access undertaking (SAU) until NBN Co further progresses its consultation with customers on its pricing model.
NBN Co submitted its revised SAU variation in June 2017 to incorporate fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-basement and hybrid fibre coaxial technologies (multi technology mix services) into the SAU, to reflect the current NBN model. This has the effect of extending the current SAU pricing arrangements to these MTM services.
The ACCC is also aware that NBN Co is consulting with its customers—telecommunications companies that pay to access the NBN network—on potential alternatives to the current pricing model.
“There has been a lot of discussion about NBN Co’s pricing, particularly around capacity issues and whether it is impacting consumers’ experiences on the NBN. We think an industry outcome on NBN pricing is the best solution and preferable to a regulatory outcome. We welcome NBN Co’s initiative here and will let the process run its course,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
However, since this consultation may result in a change to NBN Co’s pricing model, the ACCC does not consider it appropriate to make a decision on the SAU variation at this time.
“We do not think it is appropriate to make a decision on the SAU variation until the pricing consultation is further progressed,” Mr Sims said.
“If that process results in change to the pricing model and further changes to the SAU arrangements are required, then NBN Co will need to submit a new SAU variation to the ACCC.”
The ACCC will progress its consideration of other aspects of the SAU variation, including certain non-price matters, so that the ACCC will be able to finalise the process when a position has been reached in relation to NBN Co’s pricing consultation.
More information on NBN Co’s SAU variation is available on the ACCC website.
The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) allows NBN Co to submit to the ACCC a variation to a SAU currently in operation. The ACCC must then decide whether to accept or reject the SAU variation, in accordance with the criteria set out in Part XIC of the CCA. Broadly, the ACCC must not accept the variation unless it is satisfied that the varied SAU terms would promote the long-term interests of end-users and are reasonable.
The current SAU accepted by the ACCC in 2013, only covers fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), fixed wireless, and satellite technologies.
On 27 May 2016, NBN Co submitted its original SAU variation to the ACCC.
In March 2017, the ACCC issued its draft decision to reject the original SAU variation on the basis that a number of the proposed changes would not promote the long-term interests of end users and are not reasonable. The ACCC considered that minor amendments to the proposed changes could be made to address its concerns.
On 22 June 2017 NBN Co withdrew its original SAU variation and simultaneously lodged a revised SAU variation together with a supporting submission to the ACCC. The ACCC consulted on the revised SAU variation in August 2017.
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