ACCC issues notice to NBN Co to vary SAU

If NBN Co amends the SAU, a new SAU will not be required to be lodged

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission formally issued a notice to NBN Co to vary its special access undertaking (SAU).

The SAU will govern NBN Co's wholesale pricing and operations as the sole wholesaler for the National Broadband Network (NBN) until 2040.

“The variation notice sets out changes to the SAU that would be required to address concerns that have been raised by the ACCC,” Rod Sims, ACCC chairman, said in a statement.

“It includes a number of changes from the draft version released in July this year, following our consideration of submissions by NBN Co and access seekers.”

Changes include extending the number of price reviews the ACCC can undertake; provisions that prevent NBN Co from varying existing products that might reduce the functionality or performance of them; and changes to the ACCC assessment of prudency and efficiency of NBN Co’s capital expenditure during the construction of the network.

“Finalising the SAU will provide the regulatory certainty that access seekers are requesting before they enter into longer term commercial contracts with NBN Co,” Sims said.

“The ACCC understands that the government will now provide new policy directions to NBN Co. However, most of the commitments in the SAU are technology neutral and will apply even with a significant change in network design.

“In addition, if NBN Co wishes to vary the undertaking in the future in light of any new directions from the government, this can be accommodated.”

NBN Co lodged its revised SAU in September last year after the ACCC suspended its assessment of NBN Co’s initial SAU, which garnered fierce opposition from telcos for a lack of flexibility over pricing.

The ACCC released a consultation paper in November last year seeking comment on NBN Co's SAU.

NBN Co has until 19 November 2013 to respond to the ACCC’s variation notice. If NBN Co amends the SAU, a new SAU will not be required to be lodged.

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Tags nbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)special access undertaking (SAU)

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