The Australian Consumer and Competition commission has come out saying that the NBN – an infrastructure monopoly that is launching across the country – will need to adhere to strict regulatory control. The demand comes from the fear that telco on sellers may be overcharged to access the infrastructure.
At this point, 30 years of commercial and legal conditions have been outlined under Special Access Undertaking (SAU) which governs the access that telcos have to the NBN. While the ACCC is largely satisfied with the plan, there are some key modifications they aim to make. One of these changes is around their concern that while prices have to remain consistent until 2017, and all price changes after that must be below inflation – the NBN can still withdraw and then reintroduce similar products at whatever price it chooses. It is for this reason that the ACCC believes regulations should be put in place to ensure this cannot happen.
The ACCC has also requested provisions to periodically review the pricing structures to ensure that the system remains fair. The NBN Co. has released a statement saying it will consider all of the ACCC requests. The next step for the ACCC would be to issue a notice for the NBN Co. to formally vary the SAU.