nbn co Limited & Ors

Summary

On 30 March 2020 NBN Co Limited, on behalf of itself and members of a Special Working Group, lodged an application for authorisation, including requesting urgent interim authorisation, to enable the group to work on contingency planning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  More specifically, NBN Co seeks authorisation for the Special Working Group to discuss, agree and implement:

·         economic stress alleviation measures, such as a coordinated industry approach to support for businesses (especially small businesses) and vulnerable or other consumers adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (hardship measures) and

·         a series of capacity optimisation strategies to help ensure the continued operation and optimisation of Australia's telecommunications networks during the COVID-19 pandemic (capacity optimisation strategies). 

(together the Proposed Conduct).

The Proposed Conduct is described further in section 3.2 of the Application – see link below. 

NBN Co was directed to form and lead the Special Working Group, in the national interest, by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts on 18 March 2020.  The Special Working Group currently also comprises the five largest communications retail service providers in Australia (by volume) – Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Hutchison, TPG, and Vocus.

Authorisation is also sought on behalf of other retail service providers or sector participants that join the Special Working Group, or otherwise participate in the Proposed Conduct, in the future.  NBN Co has committed to notify the ACCC of future participants.

On 31 March 2020 the ACCC granted urgent interim authorisation to the Proposed Conduct, subject to certain reporting obligations which require NBN Co to report to the ACCC on a timely basis about any material decisions the Special Working Group makes, and to other service providers affected by those decisions.

The ACCC is seeking submissions on the coordinated conduct permitted by the interim authorisation at any stage during the ACCC’s assessment process. The ACCC will progress its assessment of the application for authorisation in a timely manner and anticipates issuing a draft determination by late July 2020.

The ACCC invites submissions on what likely public benefits and detriments to the authorisation are, whether the ACCC should authorise the conduct for a further six months, and whether any conditions should be placed on the authorisation.

If you wish to make a submission before the ACCC issues a draft determination (as distinct from making a submission on the conduct authorised under the interim authorisation), we will accept submissions at any time up to Friday 22 May 2020.

Further information on the application for authorisation, including the contents of the support package, is available in the application, linked below.

An indicative timeline is set out below for your information.

30 March 2020

Lodgement of application, including request for interim authorisation

31 March 2020

Interim decision

16 April 2020

Public consultation process begins

22 May 2020

Closing date for submissions on the substantive application for authorisation from interested parties

June 2020

Applicant responds to issues raised in the public consultation process

July 2020

Draft determination

July 2020

Public consultation on draft determination

September 2020

Final determination

 

Applicant(s)

  • nbn co Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000483-1