Superfast fixed line broadband networks regulation

  • Operators of non-NBN fixed line networks must not supply their own retail services on the lines they control unless they seek an exemption
  • The ACCC oversees the exemption process.

What the ACCC does

  • We regulate the exemption process. This allows operators to use the local access lines they control to supply their own retail services.
  • We have made a class exemption for small network operators and a deemed functional separation undertaking.
  • We accept or reject customised functional separation undertakings from operators.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t control the retail prices consumers pay for superfast broadband.

What we do with superfast fixed line broadband networks

The ACCC regulates access to wholesale telecommunications services. 

As part of this role, we regulate non-NBN fixed line networks used to supply superfast broadband services.

Operators must seek an exemption before they can supply retail services

Operators must not supply retail services, unless they seek an exemption.

Without an exemption, operators:

  • can only use the local access lines they control to supply wholesale superfast broadband services
  • can’t supply retail services over their own lines.

An exemption is granted through an undertaking or class exemption

Network operators that provide superfast broadband services to residential customers can provide retail services when they have:

  • elected to be bound by the class exemption the ACCC has determined for small networks. This removes the condition to operate on a wholesale-only basis
  • elected to be bound by the deemed functional separation undertaking that the ACCC has determined, or
  • lodged a customised functional separation undertaking that we’ve accepted.

We regulate the exemption process

We oversee the exemption process that allows operators to use the local access lines they control to supply their own retail superfast broadband services.

We:

  • accept or reject functional separation undertakings
  • accept and publish elections from operators to be bound by the class exemption for small network operators or the deemed functional separation undertaking.

Operators bound by the class exemption or a functional separation undertaking must:

  • continue to offer wholesale access on non-discriminatory terms
  • comply with the terms of the undertaking or the class exemption.

The legal basis of our functions

These rules and our functions are set out in Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

Amendments in August 2020 relaxed wholesale-only requirements in the Act. This provided greater commercial flexibility for superfast network operators and promoted infrastructure-based competition.

These rules are referred to as the carrier separation rules.

Superfast fixed line broadband networks projects

See a complete list of telecommunications and internet projects.

Access undertakings and determinations

Title Industry Type Status
TPG joint functional separation undertaking Communications Access undertaking Finalised
7 April 2022

On 8 November 2021, TPG submitted a joint functional separation undertaking to the ACCC on behalf of itself and various subsidiaries in accordance with section 151C of the Telecommunications Act 1997. On 7 April 2022, the ACCC accepted TPG's joint functional separation undertaking which will come into force on 7 October 2022.

Further consultation on permitted information sharing Communications Access determination Finalised
9 March 2021

On 3 March 2021, the ACCC issued two determinations that specify the kinds of information that may be shared between a retail and wholesale business unit of a corporation bound by a standard or deemed functional separation undertaking.

Superfast broadband network class exemption & deemed functional separation undertaking Communications Access determination Finalised
21 January 2021

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 May 2020. Among other provisions, it amends the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Tel Act) to enable superfast fixed line broadband networks serving residential customers to operate on a functionally separated basis (rather than a structurally separated basis).

Joint functional separation undertakings - permitted information sharing Communications Access determination Finalised
18 December 2020

On 18 December 2020, the ACCC issued the Telecommunications (Permitted Information Sharing for Joint Functional Separation Undertakings) Determination 2020. This determination specifies the kinds of information provided by carriers and carriage service providers to retailers that may be shared with wholesalers bound by a joint functional separation undertaking.

Uniti joint functional separation undertaking Communications Access undertaking Finalised
21 October 2020

On 2 September 2020, Uniti Group Limited (Uniti) submitted a joint functional separation undertaking and a supporting submission in accordance with section 151C of the Telecommunications Act. The ACCC accepted the undertaking on 21 October 2020.

Industry guidelines

Title Industry Type Status
Industry guidance on the carrier separation rules Communications Guideline Finalised
2022

In October 2022, the ACCC published explanatory material relating to the carrier separation rules in Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Telecommunications Act).

Forms for functional separation undertakings Communications Guideline Finalised
18 December 2020

On 25 August 2020, amendments to the Telecommunications Act 1997 came into effect that enable superfast fixed line broadband networks serving residential customers to operate on a functionally separated basis (rather than a structurally separated basis).

Tags

Audience