NBN access pricing still unclear

NBN access pricing still unclear

Summary: How much carriers will be charged for access to the National Broadband Network has not been finalised, according to an NBN Co response to a question on notice asked during Senate Estimates earlier this year.

TOPICS: NBN, Broadband

How much carriers will be charged for access to the National Broadband Network has not been finalised, according to an NBN Co response to a question on notice asked during Senate Estimates earlier this year.

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald had asked what access to the network would cost at Senate Estimates hearings in May.

"I was told that NBN Co wasn't sure but in the meantime they were giving access to the network away at no charge. I was told that they would take the question on notice and get back to me with a more complete answer," Macdonald said.

The response, received last Friday, reads "The overall national pricing structure is yet to be finalised and is part of our Special Access Undertaking (SAU) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)."

Pricing in Tasmania for carriers was set at a flat per premise fee of $300 until July 2011, which NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said was necessary to help providers with their costs of setting up.

Macdonald said this arrangement was likely to continue for the rest of the build until the question was answered, which he saw as not viable. "How is NBN Co ever going to pay interest on its borrowings, let alone pay a dividend on its $43 billion investment, if it receives no income?" he asked.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's office was contacted for comment, but there had been no response at the time of publication.

NBN Co said it had been involved in ongoing discussions with the ACCC for some months to develop the SAU.

"We are yet to lodge the undertaking, but when we do, the ACCC will carry out an industry consultation process and seek submissions," the company said in a statement. "We expect the ACCC will take some time to give all material detailed consideration before making a determination, and therefore the process may take several months to complete."

NBN Co had previously indicated that its wholesale pricing needed to be competitive with pricing already in the market, the statement added.

Topics: NBN, Broadband

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Why are the liberals winging about the nbn. Let the people build and get on with bringing a 21st century broadband service. The facts are simple. The cost of the nbn will be $43 billion, no more no less to 93 per cent of Australia providing up to 100 mb/sec. The nbn company will earn a return of 3/4 per cent above the market bond rate. The nbn was always envisaged to be designed to be wholesale only, with the major population users subsidising rural and regional users. That is why there is a low access fee being charged to rural Tasmania users. For $39 a month with internode, you can get a 25 mb/sec with 30gb of data. Even if the prices were to rise once the ACCC sets a monthly access fee for the nbn, it will still be better value than with the current situation.
  • dwu8991,

    I'm really tired of people making comments like your... read the article... currently isps pay $0 for access to the network. that means the $39 you talk about only includes isp costs and NBN co gets nothing. that's 0% return... the problem is when you express the even loan repayments into the equation.... it works out around $50 per month! so it would be $89 per month and this is on the extremely low level of 0% return! do you now see why people are STILL asking for the FACT NBN co has been going for long enough they should know the answers by now! not even and estimate of cost yet... it smells! there is something very wrong