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
Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer
GE225 operators celebrate gold anniversary.
 
NSW Govt gets ready to throw out the floppy disks
[Opinion] Dominic Perrottet says its time for government to catch up.
 
iiNet facing new copyright battle with Hollywood
Fighting to protect customer details.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Do you direct debit customers? Read this
Oct 10, 2014
Authorities have been targeting direct debit practices with iiNet and Dodo receiving formal ...
Optus expands 4G coverage
Oct 10, 2014
If you rely on an Optus phone for work you might be interested to know that there are now 200 ...
Microsoft Office is now free for some charities
Oct 10, 2014
Microsoft has announced that eligible Australian non-profit organisations and charities can now ...
Vodafone lights up 4G in Adelaide
Oct 9, 2014
Live and work in Adelaide? Vodafone has switched on its 4G network in the city and suburbs.
Next year tradies will be able to take payments using ingogo
Oct 3, 2014
Ingogo is going to provide a card payment service for Xero users.
Latest Comments
Polls
In which area is your IT shop hiring the most staff?




   |   View results
IT security and risk
  25%
 
Sourcing and strategy
  12%
 
IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networking)
  22%
 
End user computing (desktops, mobiles, apps)
  15%
 
Software development
  26%
TOTAL VOTES: 327

Vote
Would your InfoSec team be prepared to share threat data with the Australian Government?

   |   View results
Yes
  56%
 
No
  44%
TOTAL VOTES: 135

Vote