A new regulatory model for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is ‘one step closer’, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), following an industry roundtable last week. In a press release the ACCC noted that it had called the meeting after NBN Co announced it would be seeking to revise its special access undertaking (SAU), which is a key part of the regulation that governs the prices the company can charge retailers.
With the summit having been attended by NBN Co, broadband retailers, industry groups, consumer representatives and government, ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey was cited as saying: ‘Getting the regulatory framework for the NBN right is a key priority for the ACCC this year. This roundtable was the first step in that process and it was pleasing to see stakeholders coming together to discuss the issues in an open, constructive way’.’
In terms of one of the main topics of debate, Brakey added: ‘It is clear that the NBN pricing construct is a key issue for stakeholders, and the Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) component of NBN’s pricing model was a particular focus of discussion.’ As per existing regulations, broadband retailers pay CVC charges in order to access a certain amount of bandwidth, and it was noted that most participants in the roundtable had called for the removal of CVC charges, while some proposed pricing models that had a reduced CVC component.
With the ACCC having issued a short discussion paper to participants ahead of the event to help frame the discussion at the roundtable, it has now made this available on its website, while the regulator has said it now also preparing a summary of the key issues raised at the roundtable, for release ‘in the coming weeks’.