On Wednesday last week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published a consultation paper inviting submissions from interested parties on NBN Co’s proposed variation to its Special Access Undertaking.

The Special Access Undertaking is a key part of the regulatory framework for governing prices and other terms upon which NBN Co will supply services over the NBN to retailers until 2040. NBN Co lodged a

The consultation paper describes the main changes to the undertaking proposed by NBN Co and outlines other key issues on which the ACCC is seeking feedback.

According to the ACCC, the main proposed changes to the undertaking are to incorporate fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and hybrid fibre coaxial technologies (HFC) into the undertaking.

NBN Co proposes to:

  • expand the service description to reflect the additional technologies;
  • add new clauses to address specific matters relating to FTTN and FTTB services during the NBN rollout;
  • change the nature and extent of commitments to report rollout progress information.

The ACCC must decide whether to accept or reject the variation to the Special Access Undertaking in accordance with the criteria set out in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and as such stakeholder comments will be of great importance to the ACCC when considering the proposed variations.

“The ACCC is especially interested in receiving feedback on industry’s experience in accessing and re-supplying NBN services to date,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“Changes to the Special Access Undertaking are needed to accommodate services under the multi-technology NBN model. We want to be sure the commitments in the undertaking continue to promote competition in NBN markets and remain in the long-term interests of consumers.”

The closing date for submissions on NBN Co’s proposed variation is 26 August 2016.

The proposed variations have the potential to alter the future shape of the NBN Co infrastructure project, and we will, of course, keep you abreast of any further developments as and when they happen.