ACCC halts decision on nbn SAU variation


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 09 October, 2017


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The ACCC has put on hold its decision whether to allow nbn co to vary its special access undertaking (SAU) pricing arrangements until the company has further consulted with its retail service provider customers on its pricing model.

nbn co has asked the ACCC to be allowed to vary its SAU to incorporate multitechnology mix services using fibre to the node, fibre to the basement and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) technologies.

The proposal would extend current SAU pricing arrangements to these services — currently they only apply to the fibre to the premises, fixed wireless and satellite technologies originally conceived for the network.

In making its decision, the ACCC said nbn co is currently consulting with its customers on potential alternatives to the current pricing model.

“There has been a lot of discussion about nbn co’s pricing, particularly around capacity issues and whether it is impacting consumers’ experiences on the nbn,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“We think an industry outcome on nbn pricing is the best solution and preferable to a regulatory outcome. We welcome nbn co’s initiative here and will let the process run its course.”

But he added that since the consultation may result in a change to nbn co’s pricing model, “we do not think it is appropriate to make a decision on the SAU variation until the pricing consultation is further progressed”.

If the consultation does result in a new pricing model, it could require further changes to the SAU arrangements, requiring the whole process to be started again, he said.

But the ACCC does plan to consider other aspects of nbn co’s proposed SAU variation, including non-price matters, so that the regulator will be in a position to more quickly make a decision once the pricing consultation concludes.

The ACCC had already rejected an original proposed SAU variation on the grounds that a number of nbn co’s proposed changes would not be in the best interest of end users, but had stipulated that minor amendments could be made to address these concerns. A revised proposal was submitted in August.

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