NBN Co Submits Another Change to its Pricing and Service Rules, but What Does That Actually Mean?

NBN Co Submits Another Change to its Pricing and Service Rules, but What Does That Actually Mean?

NBN Co has made another revision to its Special Access Undertaking, after its last proposed variation in May got rejected by the ACCC.

There has been a lot of back and forth – but the Special Access Undertaking, or SAU, is quite an important part to the operation, and execution, of the National Broadband Network and while it mainly governs how and what broadband providers must do in order to access the NBN, it has a trickle-down effect on the consumer (that’s you).

After NBN Co in July 2022 withdrew a variation to its Special Access Undertaking it made the prior March, it then proposed a new one in November. While the ACCC rejected the submission back in May, the rejection was conditional, as there were some specific issues NBN Co could address to “accelerate the pathway to an acceptable variation”. So, that’s what both parties have published today.

The Special Access Undertaking is a key part of the regulation of the NBN. Essentially, as we said in the intro, they’re the terms that govern how NBN Co operates. The Special Access Undertaking sets the rules for broadband providers to access the NBN over the coming decades, such as how the minimum service standards and price caps will be determined over time. Any update to the NBN SAU requires NBN Co to lodge a variation to the ACCC, which is then published for consultation. The ACCC must then decide whether to accept or reject the variation to the undertaking, apply the statutory test, and take into consideration the stakeholder feedback received.

If you’re still with me, we’ll get to what the new SAU contains.

As far as NBN Co is concerned, the new variation is a “new approach to wholesale pricing to support faster internet speeds, greater data demand, and improved cost certainty for retailers and customers”. It also discusses a number of measures NBN Co reckons will result in the delivery of “a better customer experience of the National Broadband Network.  A few top-level things we pulled out of the doc include capping just how much NBN providers can charge for the lower-tiered NBN plans (12Mbps, 25Mbps, and 50 Mbps fixed line and fixed wireless speed tiers); keeping ‘bundle’ prices at around the cost they are now for NBN50; and getting rid of capacity charges from the 100Mbps and above plans.  

The SAU is now up for feedback and after consultation, the ACCC will give us a little more info and we’ll see how that trickles down to us all.

This article has been updated since it was first published.

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