- Telecommunications Association calls out ACCC to ensure provisions for the delivery of low-cost products for eligible low-income consumers.
- TelSoc urged NBN Co to co-operate with the ACCC and the industry to come up with low-income products and other affordability measures.
- TelSoc’s submission argues that NBN Co should not be left alone to solve the issue of providing low-income broadband products for groups in need of them.
The attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is being called by the Telecommunications Association to ensure provisions for the delivery of low-cost products for eligible low-income consumers. TelSoc said that these should be included in NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking. TelSoc urged NBN Co to co-operate with the ACCC and the industry to come up with low-income products and other affordability measures. This was stated in Telsoc’s submission to the ACCC’s inquiry into regulatory arrangements for NBN Co as part of its undertaking TelSoc’s submission argues that NBN Co should not be left alone to solve the issue of providing low-income broadband products for groups in need of them. According to TelSoc, “the issues of affordability and digital inclusion are matters relating to broader social policy, and also matters that might be partly addressed through retail competition and regulation”. TelSoc also said in a separate submission to NBN Co’s SAU variation discussion paper that merely targeting social housing would not be adequate to capture all households in need of such offers. Nevertheless, TelSoc agreed with NBN Co that other boundary conditions like pension recipients would cast a net that is too wide. “We, therefore, recommend that NBN Co should continue to work with special interest groups and with retailers [which] are addressing the mass broadband market to define criteria that are capable of being effectively implemented at the retail level, and which provide financial certainty to NBN Co itself,” TelSoc said. Still, according to TelSoc, the ACCC should modify the SAU framework to enable the resetting of access arrangements every five years as market conditions change. Meanwhile, NBN Co finally tables a ‘flat-price’ model, but it would involve a $5 to $20 a month hike. The model chops off the variable connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charge, which is either for 100Mbps and above products or all products entirely. “NBN Co estimates that between 69,000 to 170,000 end-users would no longer be able to afford or be willing to take up NBN broadband under Construct 3, primarily as a result of the removal of data-capped plans in market and retail price increases,” it said in a consultation paper. It should be noted that Construct 3 is defined as flat pricing for all tiers with an immediate $5 to $20 per month hike, including yearly indexed increases. “The initial pricing proposal under Construct 3 has been adjusted to account for potential losses in NBN take-up.”