A draft decision on the pricing of the declared superfast broadband access service (SBAS) and the local bitstream access service (LBAS) has been released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC has proposed that network owners other than Telstra will be required to offer access to their infrastructure to other operators at a cost of AUD27 (USD19.8) per month for speeds of up to 25Mbps/5Mbps down/uplink, plus AUD15.25 per Mbps per month for aggregation. The regulated aggregation charge will also apply to the LBAS. The major SBAS and LBAS networks expected to be subject to the Final Access Determinations (FAD) include those operated by Telstra (South Brisbane and ‘Velocity’ estates networks), TPG Telecom, Vocus, LBN Co, Opticomm, and OPENetworks.
According to the regulator, different prices apply for the fibre-based broadband services supplied in South Brisbane and at the ‘Velocity’ estates by Telstra due to these networks having been built to work with the fixed line incumbent’s legacy copper-based systems, and because they are expected to move to the National Broadband Network (NBN) within the next few years. As a result, the draft Telstra FAB prices are similar to those prices set in line with the NBN and will initially be AUD23.45 per port per month in Zone 1 and AUD28.46 per port per month in Zone 2, with a AUD16.65 per Mbps per month charge for aggregation.
In outlining its plans, the ACCC said it had been ‘mindful of the regulatory burden our decisions can place on small providers’ and as such confirmed that it is proposing to exempt those SBAS providers supplying less than 12,000 end users, down from 20,000 in its SBAS interim access determination. This decision, it said, was made on the basis of technical advice that the compliance costs for these operators would likely be high, relative to the expected wholesale revenues and benefits to end users. Meanwhile, the ACCC noted that it has also provided for prices to incorporate the Government’s proposed industry levy on superfast local access lines to help fund NBN Co’s supply of non-commercial regional fixed wireless and satellite services. Submissions on the draft decision are open until 17 February 2017, with a final decision expected by June 2017.