Coalition anticipates only minor NBN rule adjustments

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Coalition anticipates only minor NBN rule adjustments

Backs move to finalise special access undertaking.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is backing the ACCC's move to finalise minimum terms for NBN-supplied services, believing the proposed terms won't require "material" alteration in future to conform with Coalition policy.

Speaking to iTnews last night, Turnbull said he was "aware" of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's desire to finalise the NBN special access undertaking (SAU), which has been under negotiation for two years.

"The industry's very keen to have that SAU settled," Turnbull said.

"The sort of changes that we've canvassed in our policy I don't think would have a material impact on the regulatory environment or the context in which those regulations would operate.

"It's not for me to tell the ACCC what to do but I'm aware that they're intending to get on with it, and I certainly haven't voiced any concerns or counselled delay [of the process]."

The comments present a relatively stable picture of the telecommunications regulatory environment under the new Coalition Government.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims yesterday confirmed for the first time since the federal election that the regulator would continue to press ahead with the SAU approval process, which has largely stalled since May.

Until yesterday, the impact of the change of government on the SAU process had been unknown.

ISPs and other NBN access seekers want the SAU finalised because they currently access services over the NBN using a set of temporary terms and conditions.

The next step in the process will see the ACCC formally notify NBN Co to edit the text of the SAU. 

Speculation abounds

Turnbull declined to weigh in on continued speculation about the possible make-up of a rejuvenated NBN Co board.

"Everybody knows cabinet will be considering it this week," he said. "Certain considerations will be taken then and then there'll be less scope for speculation but I wouldn't want to inhibit speculation."

He sidestepped questions about whether he would seek to reduce the size of NBN Co's staff, citing a forthcoming review process to be undertaken by NBN Co itself.

"All of that will be considered in the strategic review," Turnbull said.

"I think we should make our decisions based on facts. It is a very large workforce but we're going to undertake the strategic review that will give us a very keen assessment of the business."

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