Australia: Superfast broadband open to competition
August 1, 2016
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to regulate access to wholesale superfast broadband services and has thus declared a five-year ‘superfast broadband access service’ (SBAS).
The SBAS declaration allows retailers to access non-NBN network services with a downstream data rate normally more than 25 Mbps. This includes the fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) network operated by TPG subsidiary AAPT, and Telstra’s fibre networks in South Brisbane and Velocity estates.
“This is an acknowledgment that all superfast broadband networks, regardless of their size display natural monopoly characteristics. What this access declaration does is provide retailers with the opportunity to enter superfast broadband markets, and in turn increase competition,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. This decision will also help to simplify and clarify the existing regulations that apply to superfast broadband services, allowing all retail providers to compete on their relative merits, regardless of the technology used, when the network was constructed, or who operates it.”
“Importantly, this will benefit consumers in the long term because it means greater competition between retail providers, and more choice, can now occur,” Sims added.
The announcement of the SBAS declaration of service has triggered a public inquiry into the price and non-price terms of access that should apply to the SBAS. The ACCC has set interim price and non-price terms and conditions to apply for the next 12 months while it completes this inquiry.