Accc wants baby nbns competing for customers and upgrading networks zdnet

When the day comes for NBN to be privatised, as originally planned by Kevin Rudd and Stephen Conroy at its inception, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is of the belief that it should be done in a way that maximises competition, rather than being focused on the largest sell-off price.

"Privatisation of the NBN will provide a unique opportunity to put in place a market structure with the potential to deliver effective infrastructure-based competition, such as through the horizontal disaggregation of NBN Co by different network technologies or areas of coverage," the ACCC wrote in its communications sector market study final report released on Thursday.

"The disaggregated parts would need to be able to contest each other’s customer base. In our view, this form of infrastructure-based competition would encourage ongoing investment in network upgrades and deliver price benefits and improved services to consumers over time."

The ACCC recommended that the government continue planning for disaggregation, and that the issue be part of a future Productivity Commission inquiry into the NBN. The commission also expressed concern that if processes for separation are not put in place early, it could be used a reason to sell NBN holus-bolus.

"We understand that NBN Co has introduced separate accounts for the different lines of its business, which it provides to the government. In addition, we understand a report was commissioned by NBN Co on OSS and BSS separation and provided to the government, but neither the report itself nor its findings have been released publicly," the report said.

"It would prevent assets consumers have paid for (including the copper in HFC areas) from being prematurely scrapped, instead harnessing those assets for the benefit of end users. Over time, this approach should reduce financial risks to taxpayers, facilitate a transition to private funding and improve the chance of efficient and timely network deployment," the panel said.

The existing hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network has subsequently had a pause on connecting new customers to it since November last year, while the HFC network previously owned by Optus has been mostly junked in favour of fibre to the distribution point.

"While disaggregation of NBN Co’s business units (as the panel recommends) after the network is complete cannot be ruled out, now is not the time," the now-prime minister said in a statement made alongside the Vertigan report. "Breaking up NBN Co would distract its management, and delay the provision of high-speed broadband to all Australians."

"The multiple and complex objectives that NBN Co has been tasked with achieving make full cost recovery a potentially difficult proposition," the report said. "In the medium term, it remains to be seen how the broadband speed claims and monitoring measures and NBN Co’s longer-term pricing initiatives will help to improve NBN Co’s commercial viability.

"While recognising that NBN Co does have a degree of flexibility to lower its prices, there may ultimately be a need for pricing relief measures to be taken by the government, such as debt payment concessions or direct Budget funding of non-commercial services, to better promote the efficient use of the network and the long-term interests of end users."

"Given we still have nine more months together, I kindly ask for your ongoing support in three areas: 1) improving the customer experience for those touch points we control; 2) advancing the build of a high-quality network; and 3) finding ways to keep our costs down so we can keep our services affordable for everyone," Morrow told NBN staff in an email.

The NT government has repeated arguments that Sky Muster cannot meet the broadband needs of rural Australians, with Viasat pointing out options to improve the service, while Aussie Broadband again called for a halt to the fixed-wireless network until congestion is fixed and Vodafone asked for spectrum sharing.