In publishing position papers today (2 April), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has outlined its views on wholesale access terms currently being considered by two National Broadband Network (NBN) related inquiries. However, the regulator has announced that it is pausing its inquiries, which examine both NBN entry-level access pricing and wholesale service standards, so as ‘to allow the communications sector to focus on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic’.
According to the regulator, its position papers ‘provide the ACCC’s current views of the nature and direction of any final access determination (FAD) that the ACCC may make, once circumstances stabilise’. With regards to its NBN Wholesale Service Standards Inquiry, this sets out the ACCC’s views on measures designed to improve incentives for NBN Co to meet its connection, fault repair and technician appointment commitments. Meanwhile, the second position paper, related to the NBN Access Pricing Inquiry, codifies what the ACCC considers to be fair and affordable prices for basic speed NBN services (classified as offering downlink/uplink speeds of 12Mbps/1 Mbps).
Commenting, ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes was cited as saying: ‘We have released the position papers to provide guidance for NBN Co and access seekers if they continue negotiations on new wholesale arrangements, which are due to expire later this year.’ With specific regards to the matter of the pricing of basis services, Cifuentes added: ‘NBN Co has recently allowed access seekers to boost their capacity on the network by up to 40% at no extra cost for three months, which does temporarily address a key concern we have regarding NBN access pricing for basic services.’