The ACCC has welcomed NBN Co’s announcement that a new approach to the regulation of its access pricing is needed for the telecommunications industry and NBN customers.
To get the views of broadband retailers and to help inform a revised special access undertaking that applies to all of the NBN access network, the ACCC will convene an industry roundtable in June 2021.
NBN Co has notified the ACCC that it intends to lodge this revised undertaking within the next 12 months.
NBN Co’s current special access undertaking sets out access and pricing terms for its fibre to the premise, fixed wireless and satellite networks, which only represent about 25 per cent of active NBN connections.
“This roundtable will be an important step in this process of designing a revised regulatory model for the NBN that sets pricing and access terms for its whole network,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Until now, access pricing has largely been developed by NBN Co, so the prospect of bringing this work squarely within the remit of a special access undertaking with effective ACCC oversight is a very significant change.”
“This is the start of a long reform process that would effectively put NBN pricing under the ACCC’s regulatory umbrella, and would improve access pricing for NBN Co customers,” Mr Sims said.
“As a first step, we are seeking contributions from NBN Co, access seekers, retail service providers and other interested stakeholders so their views can be considered as the undertaking is being developed.”
The ACCC’s consultation process is particularly important given NBN Co’s announcement today that it no longer intends to undertake consultation on longer term pricing, but will instead prepare a discussion paper on its approach to incorporating Multi Technology Mix access technologies into the undertaking.
The roundtable will also give NBN customers an opportunity to comment on whether concerns that the ACCC has previously raised about extending the existing pricing arrangements to all network technologies are material to end-users of the NBN.
NBN Co has advised the ACCC that it will participate in the roundtable. The ACCC is now seeking pre-registrations for the roundtable from access seekers and retail service providers, as well as from organisations that represent consumers or businesses that use the NBN, or other groups that can show a direct interest in this matter. These can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
NBN Co’s carriage services are taken to be declared under Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act, which provides access seekers a statutory right to access the services and enables the ACCC to regulate the terms and conditions of access, such as price, to apply where the terms of access cannot be agreed.
A special access undertaking provides the access provider, in this case NBN Co, the means to propose the regulated access terms to apply and related matters.
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