ACCC decides to proceed with NBN access undertaking

The competition regulator will ask NBN Co to make more changes to its access terms, despite hesitating last week on whether to proceed with the undertaking after a change of government.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims has indicated that the regulator will proceed with the National Broadband Network (NBN) special access undertaking (SAU) process, despite initial hesitation following the change of government and potential change in design of the NBN.

In a speech to the SMART Inaugural International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure in Wollongong today, Sims said that the ACCC is preparing to issue a notice to NBN Co that outlines additional changes to be made to the SAU — the document that sets out the pricing and regulatory framework for the operation of the NBN until 2040 — before deciding whether to accept or reject the SAU.

He said that the ACCC is seeking to "rebalance" the controversial connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charges if the cost for capacity on the NBN becomes "inappropriate over time". In direct contradiction to comments made by the ACCC last week , Sims said that the ACCC has decided to forge ahead despite the change of government in order to provide certainty to retail service providers accessing the NBN.

"Settling the SAU will provide access seekers the certainty they seek, even if the new government's policies require consequential changes at a later stage."

Up until now, access seekers such as iiNet have signed temporary year-long contracts with NBN Co in order to continue to provide services over the NBN.

The ACCC declined to comment further on the change of heart, instead referring ZDNet back to its statement last week.

"The ACCC is still reviewing whether there is any impact on the NBN SAU process as a consequence of the change in government," a spokesperson said.