Discussion paper

This public inquiry concerns the wholesale charges that access seekers pay to use the NBN to supply residential grade services. It is focused on the price-related terms for the supply of a basic speed broadband access product on the NBN, as well as service transfer and reversal charges, that would support a smooth transition to the NBN during the ongoing network rollout.

We have decided to commence the inquiry because of concerns that NBN Co’s wholesale pricing has resulted in inefficient and unfair outcomes for consumers who have no need for the higher speeds that the NBN makes possible. These concerns stem from NBN Co’s wholesale pricing changes in late 2018, and the subsequent withdrawal of basic speed retail plans that have left these consumers at risk of being unable to obtain an NBN service at a similar price and quality of their ADSL service. These consumers are nonetheless required to migrate to the NBN in order to keep their home service active.

We have been expressing these concerns for some time, with NBN Co recently announcing new pricing for basic speed access products to take effect in October and November of this year. As a consequence, we are now looking to test through this public inquiry whether NBN Co’s announced pricing initiatives will address our concerns. We are also taking the opportunity to test whether the principles we have adopted to assess NBN Co product and pricing developments remains fit for purpose.

The purpose of this discussion paper is to seek views relating to the price-related terms of access to the NBN for the purpose of supplying residential grade (Traffic Class 4) broadband retail services, and in particular those that are functionally equivalent with an ADSL/ADSL2+ service.

The inquiry will consider whether regulatory intervention is necessary in respect of these access products, and, if so whether to make an access determination (AD) that will include price-related terms and conditions. Such an AD would provide a set of price-related terms and conditions to apply where a suitable commercial agreement has not been reached. Our various regulatory options are discussed in Sections 3 of this paper.

Submissions close 15 November 2019.

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