The ACCC will take a closer look at how the wholesale transmission market is changing as the industry shifts from a Telstra-centric to NBN-centric structure.
Such an inquiry has long been on the cards and was raised again as an issue in the ACCC’s communications market study last year.
The ACCC will use a mandated review of the regulated domestic capacity transmission service (DCTS) to determine whether new or revised rules are required in line with the shift in power. [pdf]
The DCTS sets prices on transmission routes that lack competition.
Over the years, many routes have been deregulated, usually because there are two competitors to Telstra offering service.
The rules were largely designed to keep Telstra in check, and as such regulate by exchange service areas (ESAs).
But in an NBN world, routes are likely to be measured based on the amount of competing transmission and backhaul services running in and out of NBN Co’s 121 points of interconnect (PoIs).
The ACCC said when it last examined the impact of NBN Co on the transmission market in 2014 that it “found the impact of the NBN on DCTS markets to be minimal".
“The ACCC anticipates that the current impact will be greater although the extent is unclear as the NBN is still being rolled out,” it said on Monday.
The ACCC indicated it wanted to gauge “the nature of any investments being made in transmission capacity at the NBN PoIs as well as the extent to which transmission traffic is now concentrated on NBN backhaul routes".
It also wants to collect the “experiences of service providers with regards to accessing transmission services on NBN PoI backhaul routes, whether purchased as a standalone service or part of an aggregated service (NBN wholesale and backhaul service)".
The ACCC said “a number” of retail service providers had already raised concerns about difficulties accessing NBN PoI backhaul services.
In particular it said they had raised “the cost of transmission services to some NBN PoIs, the limited choice of active suppliers and the limited choice of transmission services, such as supply options for fully protected (dual path) feeds to all NBN PoIs".