The ACCC shares its views on next generation telecommunications networks

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued for public consultation two papers related to next generation telecommunications networks.

The first is a draft decision on a 15-year special access undertaking given by the G9 for its proposed fibre-to-the-node network upgrade, with initial access prices of up to $29 to $50 per month (depending on the speed offered). This first paper also provides guidance on access to FTTN networks more generally.

The ACCC considers that reasonable access to a new FTTN network would normally include the following; a bitstream access service over the last mile bottleneck, which gives the access seeker as much control as possible over its own customer traffic, so that it is able to innovate and compete; access prices which reflect efficient costs (whether actual or estimated) and give investors a return that reflects their investment risk; and non-price terms and conditions of access that do not discriminate anti-competitively.

The ACCC would also expect a smooth migration to the new services for existing access seekers and their customers.
ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel said these requirements would be similar for any fibre-to-the-node upgrade, regardless of the network operator.

"The G9's prices for the initial three year period of up to $29 to $50 per month (depending on the speed offered) may be within the reasonable range of prices for this type of service and network," he said.

Samuel noted that demand forecasts for broadband services are more uncertain beyond a few years, making it difficult for any firm to set efficient prices upfront for a long period of time.

"The G9 has addressed this uncertainty by proposing a pricing approach widely used for long term new investments in other industries, including gas, electricity and rail," he said.

In these industries, a pricing methodology is agreed upfront to provide regulatory certainty, and the access provider need only update key inputs from time to time. These updates are subject to a form of review or audit by the regulator.

"The G9 also proposes a degree of vertical separation of the network owner from retail carriers and carriage service providers. Vertical separation can reduce the need for regulatory oversight,” he said. "However while the general pricing approach could be reasonable, the undertaking as it currently stands lacks effective independent audit of the key inputs.”

These undertaking also gives the network owner a high degree of discretion in unilaterally determining non-price terms and conditions for the 15 year undertaking period, without independent regulatory review, said Samuel.

"We could not accept so much discretion from a gas, electricity or rail firm. Access seekers would not know where they stood."

Accordingly, the draft decision is that the ACCC could not currently accept the undertaking and is open to the G9 to refine its access proposal for future consideration. The ACCC seeks submissions on the draft decision by 4 February 2008.

The ACCC has also issued a position paper on the possible variation of the definition of the declared Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS). The position paper notes the need for the ULLS declaration to be updated to keep in step with on-going network modernisation, including the evolution of traditional switched telecommunications networks to internet protocol.

The position paper seeks the views of interested parties on a proposed variation to the ULLS service description, with submissions due by 22 February 2008.

The ACCC shares its views on next generation telecommunications networks
 
 
 
Top Stories
Five zero-cost ways to improve MySQL performance
How to easily boost MySQL throughput by up to 5x.
 
The big winners from Defence’s back-office IT refresh
Updated: The full list of subcontractors.
 
Tracking the year of CIO churn
[Blog post] Who shone through in 12 months of disruption?
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
This 4G smartphone costs $219
Sep 3, 2014
It's possible to spend a lot less on a smartphone if you're prepared to go with a brand you ...
Looking for storage? Seagate has five new small business NAS devices
Aug 22, 2014
Seagate has announced a new portfolio of Networked Attached Storage (NAS) solutions specifically ...
Run a small business in western Sydney?
Aug 15, 2014
This event might be of interest if you're looking to meet other people with a similar interest ...
Buying a tablet? Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 goes on sale this month
Aug 8, 2014
Microsoft has announced its Surface Pro 3 will go on sale in Australia on 28 August from ...
Apple's top MacBook Pro with Retina is now cheaper
Aug 1, 2014
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro range with faster processors and new pricing, including ...
Latest Comments
Polls
Which is the most prevalent cyber attack method your organisation faces?




   |   View results
Phishing and social engineering
  68%
 
Advanced persistent threats
  3%
 
Unpatched or unsupported software vulnerabilities
  11%
 
Denial of service attacks
  6%
 
Insider threats
  12%
TOTAL VOTES: 1009

Vote