Wholesale ADSL services will be regulated for another five years, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has confirmed. As per its decision – which will extend the declaration until 2022 – the watchdog said it believed that regulating the service on a national basis would promote the long term interests of customers during the transition to the National Broadband Network (NBN). Commenting on the decision, ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said: ‘Continued access to wholesale ADSL services remains in the transition to the NBN and is critical to enable retail providers to compete with the dominant provider, Telstra, in the supply of high speed broadband services nationally … Declaring the ADSL service will lead to a more competitive retail sector which is likely to deliver greater choices for end users in the form of better prices, service quality and service options.’
In separate but related news, the ACCC has published its report on the NBN wholesale market for Q4 2016. Among the highlights of the report it was revealed that nbn, the company overseeing the construction and management of the NBN, was supplying a total of 1.705 million broadband wholesale access services as at 31 December 2016, up 28% quarter-on-quarter. Of that total, connections via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology made up the lion’s share – 1.015 million – while fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) accesses accounted for 411,220 and 43,097, respectively. Notably, the report for the first time included data on the uptake of NBN services via HFC and long term satellite access technologies, with the number signed up to these standing at 54,829 and 14,551, respectively.
With regards to the speeds taken up, meanwhile, the 25Mbps/5Mbps tier continues to be the most popular option, with 930,819 of the total accesses reported at this level. It was noted, however, that there had a sizeable increase in the number of 100Mbps/40Mbps connections being requested, with the total at that speed reaching 201,262 at the end of the reporting period. In terms of the operators utilising NBN-based access services, the top four acquirers remained unchanged, those being Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom and Vocus Communications.