ACCC recommends more information sharing by NBN

Proposed licence condition aimed at preventing Telstra from gaining an unfair advantage over other RSPs

NBN would be compelled to share more information about the rollout of the National Broadband Network with retail service providers (RSPs) under a recommendation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Department of Communications requested the ACCC look into ways to minimise information asymmetry between Telstra and other RSPs during the rollout of the network.

The shift to a 'multi-technology mix' model for the network means that Telstra's HFC network and elements of its copper network, which will be used for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB), will be integrated into the NBN.

"Restrictions in Telstra's Migration Plan remain in place to ensure that FTTP [fibre-to-the-premises] information is ringfenced by Telstra and will not be used to gain an unfair commercial advantage over its wholesale customers," an ACCC report released yesterday stated.

"These restrictions will not however apply to the additional FTTN, FTTB, and HFC information shared under the amended Definitive Agreements [between NBN and Telstra]."

The aim of a proposed licence condition to be imposed on NBN is to prevent Telstra gaining an unfair advantage over other RSPs while allowing NBN and the telco to share information necessary for the network's rollout.

The ACCC recommended that NBN should prepare regular "management-style" reports for stakeholders containing network rollout information; that the government-owned company maintain a register of documents it discloses to Telstra and makes those documents available on request to access seekers; and that NBN has ongoing engagement interested parties in relation to the disclosure of information about the NBN.

In addition, the competition watchdog said that NBN should not disclose to Telstra information about a customer's choice of RSP unless necessary for the migration to the network.

"Through these measures interested stakeholders will receive information to assist their business planning and investment decisions," the ACCC's chairperson, 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.

"Consumers will in turn benefit from stronger competition amongst NBN service providers for their business."

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