• Future pricing consultations are set to be submitted by NBN Co to a Special Access Undertaking review.
  • The NBN pricing can be seen as measured against a “building block formula” that is currently applied in the electricity market.
  • The ACCC welcomed this move from NBN Co.

Future pricing consultations are set to be submitted by NBN Co to a Special Access Undertaking review. This is in conjunction with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission effectively placing NBN pricing under its oversight.

With this move, the NBN pricing can be seen as measured against a “building block formula” that is currently applied in the electricity market. According to the ACCC, it will convene an industry roundtable to help spread the word about the revised SAU review. In this case, NBN pricing will most likely be under the ACCC regulatory umbrella from being governed by an SAU signed in 2013. However, the latter only covers the FTTP, wireless, and satellite networks. Thus, the tariffs for FTTN, FTTC, and HFC networks are unregulated.

According to NBN Co, it “considers that any significant, long-term changes to our pricing construct would need to be included in, and considered in the context of, an SAU variation which NBN had originally proposed to initiate sequentially after concluding the current pricing consultation. Given these factors, NBN will shortly initiate the SAU variation process with a discussion paper to progress possible changes to the pricing construct. We believe this approach will speed up consideration of the proposed changes by providing the opportunity for RSPs, the ACCC, and NBN to consider both the proposed price changes and an SAU variation in parallel.”

NBN chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said: “Any long-term fundamental change to our pricing has got to be done in conjunction with the ACCC. So therefore we had flagged a timeline that was one-to-two years it would take to run through this process. A number of retailers expressed the desire to accelerate that process if we could. What we had intended was to solicit the best and brightest ideas from the industry as the second part of this consultation. That would then give us the ability then to go to the ACCC and say, ‘This is what we're thinking.’ We believe we can actually abbreviate that process by engaging with the ACCC sooner.”

Whitcomb further added: “then we would have a multi-party forum, which would include the NBN, the ACCC, retailers, and other interested stakeholders. And we think we could come to a resolution much quicker than we would have if we’d let the existing consultation run and sort of done it sequentially.”

The ACCC welcomed this move from NBN Co. ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “Until now, access pricing has largely been developed by NBN Co, so the prospect of bringing this work squarely within the remit of a Special Access Undertaking with effective ACCC oversight is a very significant change. This is the start of a long reform process that would effectively put NBN pricing under the ACCC’s regulatory umbrella, and would improve access pricing for NBN Co customers.”