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ACCC Finalises Superfast Broadband Regulation

The ACCC has finalised its proposed regulation of ‘superfast’ broadband services supplied on non-NBN fixed line networks, including approval for network operators to pass on the cost of the proposed Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS).

As part of its decision, the ACCC will set the wholesale price for ‘superfast broadband access service’ (SBAS) and Local Bitsteram Access Service (LBAS) in line with NBN prices. It will also establish other terms and conditions as part of its requirement that all service providers are able to access necessary infrastructure to supply “competitive communications services to end-users” the regulator said.

These services are primarily located in new housing estates and city apartment buildings, with major providers including Telstra (South Brisbane and Velocity Estates fibre networks), TPG, Vocus, LBN Co, Opticomm, and OPENetworks.

“One of our main aims has been to ensure that internet retailers and their customers supplied via the non-NBN networks will not be worse off than if they were supplied internet services by the NBN,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

The ACCC said it would now allow non-NBN networks to pass on the proposed RBS charge on their customer lines, a change from the original draft decision announced in January. The RBS charge has been proposed by the federal government to allow funding for NBN Co’s non-commercial regional fixed wireless and satellite services.

“Our view is that the regulated prices based on the NBN prices may not have allowed these network providers to recover their reasonable costs if they were also required to absorb the proposed RBS charge,” Sims said.

Providers supplying high-speed internet to less than 12,000 customer will not be affected by this regulation.

The specific wholesale pricing established by the ACCC can be seen below:

All providers (excluding Telstra): $27.00 per port per month + between $8.00 and $17.50 per Mbps per month for aggregation to a point of interconnection (determined by the aggregation capacity each retail service provider purchases per port)

Telstra: $16.03 per port per month (Zone 1) and $21.10 per port per month (Zone 2) + $29.27 per Mbps per month for aggregation + retail service providers must purchase Telstra’s $20.69 per month wholesale line rental service.

Prices for Telstra are different “due to the cost of separating these networks from Telstra’s legacy network systems and the prospect that the fibre networks may be transferred to the NBN” according to the ACCC, which also noted it would not likely allow the different pricing arrangements to continue “beyond the term of this pricing determination”.

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