The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) along with NBN Co have kicked off a public consultation process to define and finalise the locations of points of interconnect (POI) to be installed as part of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Two papers from the industry watchdog and broadband wholesaler seek agreement on the number and location of the proposed POIs in order to best meet the long term interests of end users.
Specifically, each seeks to address:
- Short and long term competition impacts of POI alternatives on the backhaul and retail markets
- State of backhaul competition and potential adverse implications of NBN Co's POI installation
- Implications (if any) for potential and future Layer 1 unbundling and network topology, and
- Stakeholder responses to the consultation process.
"The consultation will assist the ACCC in forming an opinion as to the appropriate number and location of POIs that is in the long-term interests of end-users," ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said in a statement.
According to the ACCC discussion paper, the purpose of the joint process is to inform both the ACCC and NBN Co on industry issues which arise from the location of the NBN’s initial POIs and will assist both organisations in forming an opinion as the locations and numbers.
After looking at various options, the NBN Co claims a “composite” approach for the location of the POIs would be the most suitable. This approach would see the network built with 14 centralised points in the five capital cities plus the possibility of connecting to POIs deeper in the network where needed. Under this proposal, the price of access to either the centralised or wider selection of POIs would be the same.
The points would replace the approximately 550 exchange service areas currently operational under the copper access network, and extend to up to 1000 fibre serving areas for distribution.
NBN Co is also considering other alternatives, including distributed POIs at every fibre serving area, or a minimised number of POIs serving to centralise all network traffic.
“NBN Co recognises however that there are many factors that need to be considered in making a decision on POI location, so we are very pleased to be supporting the ACCC’s consultation process on this important industry issue,” NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, said.
Ideally, the process would provide confidence to NBN Co and the industry on how the regulatory body would handle the issue, likely required for consideration as part of NBN Co’s special access undertaking with the ACCC.
The ACCC is inviting submissions on any of the issues raised in either paper, in particular, responses to specific questions, by 8 November 2010.