NBN Co promises new regulatory framework in weeks

 

Formally withdraws first document.

NBN Co has said it will submit a revised regulatory framework to the competition watchdog "in a matter of weeks", again missing deadlines it set for submission of the key documents.

The company this week formally withdrew its initial special access undertaking, which was submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in December last year.

The SAU was heavily criticised by the ACCC and retail service providers alike for a relatively one-sided view of the company's regulation.

The ACCC was required to make a decision on the initial undertaking by June 5, but had requested an extension on the deadline until September 17.

The withdrawal of the original undertaking is a formality after NBN Co announced in June that it would submit a revised undertaking aimed at scaling back much of the 30-year framework initially proposed and offering more powerful dispute resolution powers to both the commission and ISPs.

The new, modular SAU — originally planned for submission in August — would include provisions to sign agreements with customers for two years, rather than five, and keep other provisions under an initial ten-year term with revisions every three-to-five years subsequently.

The wholesaler kept the 30-year term only as a bare framework for product and service descriptions, legal terms, as well as long-term cost recovery on the network, which it had lobbied as necessary for investor confidence in the network.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said the new document would come within a matter of weeks.

"We've been working closely with the industry and the Commission to meet their concerns and ensure we get this right for the benefit of NBN Co, our customers and ultimately consumers," the spokeswoman said.

It is believed the submission of the new document will reset the six-month statutory deadline placed on the ACCC for consideration of the regulatory framework.

Commissioner Ed Willett told iTnews in June that the process would not necessarily start again.

"It will be a new process, including the issue of some sort of consultation document before we go to final [decision]," he said at the time.

However, it is likely to impede on the one-year stop-gap agreements signed between NBN Co and ISPs last year, which are now expected to expire in November.

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