ACCC proposes Superfast Broadband Access Service declaration

6 Nov 2015

A draft decision proposing a Superfast Broadband Access Service (SBAS) declaration has been published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The regulator noted that while some superfast broadband services are already declared, some are subject to carrier licence conditions, to ministerial exemptions with conditions, or remain unregulated. The ACCC has proposed that telecommunications providers be allowed access to services with a downstream data rate of normally more than 25Mbps on all fixed line networks, though access will not be required where the network operator is already facing competition from alternative fixed network providers.

Commenting on the matter, ACCC chairman Rod Sims noted: ‘Declaring an SBAS will go some way to simplifying and clarifying the regulations that apply in this area, and give access seekers certainty about gaining wholesale access to services on these networks … The ACCC considers declaration of an SBAS will promote the long-term interests of end-users because it is likely to promote competition between telecommunications providers supplying services to end-users.’

Submissions on the decision have been invited by the regulator, which is specifically seeking comments on the likely costs of complying with the declaration and whether it would be appropriate to exempt smaller providers on this basis. The closing date for submissions is 4 December 2015.