The national network builder will soon be controlled by a new license condition dictating how it shares information on the rollout with retail service providers, despite protestations against the move.
Earlier this year the government asked the ACCC to consult with the industry on whether to introduce a new carrier licence condition for NBN (formerly NBN Co), which would govern the rollout information it provides to RSPs.
The proposal was in response to concerns by other RSPs that Telstra had an advantage in its access to data on the rollout thanks to its former ownership of the copper and HFC networks to be used in the NBN.
The proposed licence condition would oblige NBN to share the same information on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) work with all RSPs as it does with Telstra.
Optus, iiNet, TPG, AT&T and Telstra all supported the move, but NBN said it was premature to introduce such a condition so early on in the multi-technology mix rollout.
The network builder argued that all RSPs didn't need the same information as provided to Telstra to effectively compete in the retail broadband market.
But the ACCC today released a report [pdf] recommending the approach and greater information disclosure to RSPs by NBN.
"By ensuring that information about the network is available to all relevant parties, Telstra should not obtain, or should not be perceived to obtain, any advantage by reason of the information it receives from NBN Co under the definitive agreements," the competition watchdog wrote in its report.
It said NBN should:
- provide regular reports on key rollout information to stakeholders,
- regularly consult with industry to make sure the reports are relevant,
- keep a list of all documents provided to Telstra and make the data available upon request to RSPs, and
- keep information on a customer's choice of NBN RSP secret from Telstra or other service providers except when resolving a migration problem.
The reports on key rollout information would include data on points of interconnect, proposed footprint, monthly ready for service, historical rollout regions and footprint, and on one and three-year construction plans.
The ACCC has also requested some additional disclosures be added to the list, specifically that the multi-technology mix technologies be split into separate reports for each of the data categories listed above.
The competition watchdog also recommended NBN offer a graduated model where it provides data as its planning for a service area becomes more detailed, include the forecast disconnection date for rollout regions,information on rack space available at points of interconnect and any impediments to RSPs using the PoIs, among other things.
“Through these measures interested stakeholders will receive information to assist their business planning and investment decisions," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
“These measures will also support competition by placing interested stakeholders in an equivalent position to Telstra in the transition to the NBN."
The guiding principles in the report will form the basis of NBN's new carrier license condition.
NBN could face pecuniary penalties of up to $10 million if it breaches the condition.
The ACCC recommended the condition be implemented before the multi-technology mix NBN gains pace.