A formal consultation on NBN CO’s proposed variation to its Special Access Undertaking (SAU) has been delayed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in order to ‘provide NBN Co time to address practical issues with the release of information it claims is commercially sensitive’.
A proposed variation to the undertaking comes after a series of industry working group meetings conducted by the ACCC in the second half of 2021, in which a range of issues with the regulation under the current undertaking were identified and alternative proposals discussed. Subsequently, NBN Co sent the ACCC a proposed variation to its SAU last month, in which information it considered to be commercially sensitive was redacted. However, according to the ACCC it is essential for there to be a fully transparent and effective public consultation process, and as such it has claimed this requires release of the proposed variation in full.
Commenting, ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said: ‘The ACCC is required by legislation to publish and consult on the variation to the undertaking in full, and proposes to do so as soon as is practical to allow third parties to fully engage in a meaningful consultation process.’ To that end, the competition watchdog has said it now aims to publish the full variation, without redactions, no later than 23 May 2022.
According to the ACCC, NBN Co’s SAU is a ‘key part of the future regulation of the National Broadband Network [NBN]’, with it setting the terms and conditions for internet providers to access the NBN until 2040, including arrangements for setting maximum prices.