ACCC seeks consultation on NBN agreement

The competition watchdog has opened consultation on the key framework governing the price and supply conditions of the National Broadband Network.

NBN Co lodged its Special Access Undertaking (SAU) with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in late September, and the regulator is now seeking feedback on the agreement before accepting it.

The ACCC's chairman Rod Sims says the document is complex, and needs to be effective now and decades into the future.

"The proposed SAU appears to set out a workable overall regulatory framework for the supply of NBN Co's services for the next 30 years," he noted in a statement.

"Yet there are many complex issues of detail and drafting to be assessed and debated before the ACCC can determine whether it is reasonable and promotes the long term interests of end-users." The ACCC says it is particularly focussed on NBN Co's commitment to make available to retailers so-called 'reference products', that offer a service of comparable quality and price to existing broadband offerings.

It also wants to examine NBN Co's commitments around the development of new products and how it would withdraw obsolete ones.

The regulator also wants to ensure service levels are appropriately defined and that effective penalties exist for non-compliance with NBN Co's obligations.

In addition, the ACCC is seeking to ensure that the undertaking gives it sufficient power to intervene in and resolve disputes between NBN Co and its customers.

The regulator says telcos are expected to agree to short-term arrangements for supplying NBN Co's services until the assessment of the undertaking concludes and a long-term agreement is approved.

It expects to release a draft decision on the SAU in March next year.

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