- The regulation over non-NBN Superfast broadband services is extended to another five years.
- ACCC deemed that the move was necessary because it is unlikely for effective competition to emerge at the broadband wholesale level any time soon.
- Some of the Superfast network operators include Telstra, TPG, and Uniti Group. Overall, these internet service providers serve an estimated total of 400K customers.
The regulation over non-NBN Superfast broadband services is extended to another five years. The decision has been made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC deemed that the move was necessary because it is unlikely for effective competition to emerge at the broadband wholesale level any time soon. Thus, retaining rules over wholesale coverage of some 400,000 lines was considered sensible enough.
For retailers, this means that they will be able to access a wholesale broadband service covered by the declaration at a regulated price. If they cannot reach a commercial agreement with a network operator, then they should arrive at non-price terms.
According to the ACCC, Superfast networks are more prevalent in outer metropolitan areas, albeit being existent across the entire country. The ACCC says that “in many areas, they supply internet services where the NBN does not”.
“There are no minimum or maximum speeds nominated in the declaration that would limit the range of access products that an access seeker could request from an access provider,” according to the decision of the ACCC.
ACCC also believes that “an important segment of the broadband market that continues to value lower speed services...The ACCC maintains that an open-ended service description for the SBAS declaration will enable RSPs to access the declared service to compete for the broad spectrum of data rates sought by end-users.”
SBAS is now combined with the similar Local Bitstream Access Service declaration as per ACCC’s decision. This means that the new declaration will apply to networks built or upgraded before or after the initial demarcation date last January 1, 2011.
Nevertheless, the ACCC did not extend SBAS to cover wireless services. According to the ACCC, SBAS and LBAS declarations have helped encourage retail-level competition for broadband. However, there is “still progress to be made in ensuring end-users of non-NBN networks are able to receive a comparable service and choice of retailer relative to those available on the NBN.”
While the ACCC conducts a public inquiry into a final access determination, it has issued an interim access determination. This is to maintain the current regulated SBAS terms.
A discussion paper seeking submissions on issues including determining SBAS prices is set to be published later this year. This will shed light as to whether the prices of low-speed products provided through the SBAs should be regulated.