ACCC holding off on decision regarding nbn’s proposed SAU variation

11 Oct 2017

A final decision on nbn’s proposed variation to its special access undertaking (SAU) will not be forthcoming until the company has further progressed a consultation with its customers regarding its pricing model, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, nbn, which is overseeing the construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN), submitted its most recent revised SAU variation proposal in June 2017, with a view to incorporating fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and HFC technologies into the undertaking, so as to reflect the current NBN model and extend the existing pricing structure to these technologies.

In announcing it will hold off on issuing a ruling regarding the proposal, the ACCC noted that it was aware that nbn was consulting with the retail service providers that use its infrastructure on potential alternatives to the current pricing model. As such, the regulator’s chairman Rod Sims noted: ‘There has been a lot of discussion about [nbn’s] pricing, particularly around capacity issues and whether it is impacting consumers’ experiences on the NBN. We think an industry outcome on NBN pricing is the best solution and preferable to a regulatory outcome. We welcome [nbn’s] initiative here and will let the process run its course.’ It is understood the discussions could result in a change to nbn’s pricing model, although the ACCC does not consider it appropriate to make a decision on the SAU variation at this time. The regulator has confirmed, however, that it will continue to examine other aspects of the SAU variation, including certain non-price matters, so that it will be in a position to make a ruling once a final position has been reached in relation to nbn’s pricing consultation.