ACCC announces interim determination for local bitstream access service

6 Jul 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed its interim access determination (IAD) for the declared local bitstream access service (LBAS), a wholesale access service for fixed line network built or upgraded after January 2011. Having declared the service in February 2012, the new IAD contains both price and non-price terms and conditions for a wholesale non-National Broadband Network (NBN) 25Mbps/5Mbps down/uplink service. The regulator has set a price cap of AUD27 (USD27.7), with the fee set ‘by benchmarking against the NBN Co wholesale broadband agreement price for a similar service’. The determination meanwhile also sets out non-price terms and conditions of access ‘to provide a base set of terms if parties cannot come to a commercial agreement’.

Meanwhile, the regulator has also released its proposals for the final access determination (FAD) for the LBAS. To that end the ACCC has noted that it plans to use the same approach for the FAD as it had for the IAD, with prices to be benchmarked against regulated pricing for NBN Co, the public-private company overseeing the rollout and management of the NBN. However, due to the timing of the finalisation of NBN Co regulated pricing, the ACCC has confirmed that it will reach a final determination on LBAS pricing within the required six-month timeframe from the launch of its public inquiry. Instead, it has said that it will extend the inquiry for a further six months, to 24 February 2013.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions on its proposed approach for the FAD, with the regulator reportedly calling in particular for comment on: the appropriateness of the benchmarking pricing methodology; the duration of the final access determination; and the appropriate non-price terms and conditions to be included in the FAD. Submissions must be made by 3 August 2012.