26 September 2023

NBN tangled in ACCC warning

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has formally warned the National Broadband Network (NBN Co.) for allegedly discriminating between retail service providers (RSPs) in the supply of upgraded NBN infrastructure to business customers.

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from NBN Co, which includes a commitment by it to take measures to ensure such conduct is not repeated.

Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims said NBN Co was prohibited from discriminating between RSPs in the supply of regulated wholesale services and related activities.

“The ACCC is satisfied that from at least January 2018 NBN Co offered materially different commercial terms to different RSPs as it upgraded NBN infrastructure to support high-speed, business-grade services,” Mr Sims said.

“NBN Co also provided one RSP with indicative pricing information for its new Enterprise Ethernet service months before it gave the same information to other RSPs.”

He said that following the ACCC’s investigation, NBN Co admitted it did not have appropriate processes in place to ensure it was complying with its obligations for transparency and non-discrimination.

“The ACCC has concluded that NBN Co failed to comply with its non-discrimination obligations on a number of fronts,” Mr Sims said.

“These legal obligations were enacted to ensure that NBN Co does not distort competition in the market for retail NBN services, such as by favouring larger RSPs.”

However, he said that in this case, the ACCC had not identified evidence that the conduct resulted in specific harm or competitive detriment before it came to light.

“We will be closely monitoring NBN Co’s conduct under the enforceable undertaking, and reserve our right to take further action if we are not satisfied,” Mr Sims said.

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