In a draft decision published today, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that it plans to grant authorisation to specific provisions within revised agreements between NBN Co and Optus. Confirming its intentions, the regulator noted that these arrangements involve the progressive migration of Optus’ hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) subscribers to the new multi-technology National Broadband Network (NBN), while parts of the operator’s cable infrastructure are integrated into the NBN.
With these revised agreements forming part of a broader transaction between the two parties which involves the acquisition of Optus’ HFC assets, the ACCC said it had accepted these were likely to result in some benefits to the public by: allowing NBN Co to access the fibre components of Optus’ HFC network and avoid inefficient investment in additional distribution fibre on these parts of the multi-technology NBN; providing consumers with a greater choice of service providers and access to a greater range of broadband products sooner than they otherwise would have and; facilitating less disruptive customer migration to the NBN.
Commenting on the development, ACCC chairman Rod Sims was cited as saying: ‘The ACCC acknowledges the revised arrangements form part of a broader proposal for NBN Co to acquire Optus’ HFC network assets, and that utilising existing HFC infrastructure in rolling out the NBN is likely to generate cost savings.’
With the regulator now seeking submissions from NBN Co and other interested parties in relation to its draft determination by 7 August, it has said it expects to make a final decision in August/September 2015.