NBN: ACCC still has concerns over Telstra’s rollout role

ACCC wants to make sure telco doesn’t have an unfair advantage over other retail service providers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it is continuing to work with NBN and Telstra to ensure that the latter’s role in the National Broadband Network rollout doesn’t give it unfair advantage over other telcos.

The competition regulator’s concerns relate to a operation and maintenance agreement announced in December and a $1.6 billion agreement announced in April that covers planning, design, construction and construction management for the bulk of NBN’s hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) rollout.

The ACCC said earlier this year it was concerned over potential competitive advantages for Telstra as a result of the contracts. The organisation’s concerns included Telstra receiving a potential “head start” on selling some NBN services, benefiting preferential service activation and fault handling, and having greater insight into the rollout of network.

The ACCC said today in a report on the service-delivery agreements between NBN and Telstra that the parties had identified a number of measures to address its concerns, including NBN making sure HFC services in an area are generally available to all retail service providers (RSPs) at the same time and NBN setting the priorities of activation and assurance work carried out by Telstra.

“The ACCC’s view is that the agreements could still pose a significant risk of distorting or otherwise lessening competition in the supply of broadband services unless all NBN access seekers are equally able to plan the commencement of their services over the NBN, and unless Telstra carries out the activation and assurance work for NBN Co in a way that does not disadvantage other NBN access seekers,” states the new ACCC assessment.

The ACCC said it was working to ensure that the measures detailed by NBN and Telstra are being implemented and that RSPs are receive equivalent activation and assurance outcomes in areas where Telstra is NBN’s service-delivery partner.

In addition, the ACCC is working with NBN and Telstra to “provide all NBN access seekers with additional information concerning the rollout of the NBN, including regular reports that detail progress made in making the NBN available in each service area”.

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