NBN Co agrees to varied SAU

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NBN Co agrees to varied SAU

Two-year drawn-out process nears end.

NBN Co has accepted all changes sought by the ACCC to the document which will set out the minimum terms and conditions for services supplied over the NBN.

The network builder took the full five weeks available to it to accept changes that were first raised by the ACCC back in April.

Many of the changes proposed were designed to afford the ACCC greater oversight powers; other changes aimed to cut the periods of time before regulations could be formally reviewed.

The ACCC now plans to consult with industry one last time on the SAU that NBN Co has formally edited, before making a final decision after over two years of discussions.

“The submission of a varied SAU is the final stage in the ACCC’s assessment of NBN Co’s undertaking. Following consultation, the ACCC will issue its final decision on the varied SAU," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

"If accepted, the SAU will provide a significant degree of regulatory certainty that access seekers are requesting before they enter into longer term commercial contracts with NBN Co."

Consultation will run until the end of the month, with the ACCC hopeful of finalising the SAU before the end of the year.

ISPs had been hoping NBN Co would act quickly on varying the text of the SAU, considering it jumped the gun with 337 pages of changes back in May this year.

The move angered ISPs at the time since it was out of sync with the regulatory approval process. Optus and the Competitive Carriers Coalition accused NBN Co at the time of dragging the already slow moving process out.

The federal election in September also caused delays.

The new government's approach to the national broadband network is likely to require further minor changes to the SAU, but that can be acheived without further stalling the SAU approval process, Sims has previously said. 

“Most of the commitments in the SAU are technology neutral and will apply even with a significant change in network design,” he said in October. 

"In addition, if NBN Co wishes to vary the undertaking in the future in light of any new directions from the government, this can be accommodated".

NBN Co Head of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Analysis, Caroline Lovell said the SAU sets a baseline for NBN Co’s ongoing engagement with the regulator and the telecommunications industry at a time when the shape of the NBN rollout is under review.

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