NBN Co, the company overseeing the construction and management of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), has reportedly ceded to demands from industry players and will accept strict regulatory oversight regarding the price and access terms offered to telcos which use the network.
According to The Australian, NBN Co has now lodged its revised Special Access Undertaking (SAU) – the document which sets out the terms of access to the in-deployment fibre infrastructure over the life of the operator’s 30-year corporate plan, and will work in tandem with NBN Co’s wholesale broadband agreement (WBA). Under the amended proposals it is understood that NBN Co has pledged to freeze the wholesale price of key consumer and business products for a five-year period, while any future rate increases will be below the rate of inflation. Further, the updated SAU also promises to confer powers to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with a view to ensuring there is a transparent and efficient mechanism for access seekers should agreements between them and NBN Co break down.
NBN Co head of product management and industry relations, Jim Hassell, said of the revised SAU: ‘It provides strong commitments to maintain the affordability of our wholesale prices, to develop new products in conjunction with our customers to meet emerging needs, and to incur costs in a prudent and efficient manner ... In addition, the SAU also contains a transparent process for ensuring that decisions made by the ACCC are available to all our customers on a non-discriminatory basis.’