NBN submits new pricing plan to consumer watchdog

Internet users could have some NBN charges removed as the company behind the network launches a fresh attempt to get a pricing proposal approved.

NBN Co has submitted a new pricing plan to the consumer watchdog for consideration.

The proposal, also known as a special access undertaking, would see capacity charges removed for those on plans of 100 megabytes per second (Mbps).

It also proposed setting a minimum wholesale price for those on 12, 25 and 50 Mbps tiers, as well as a maximum of $55, regardless of the amount of data used.

The proposal would also see annual changes to wholesale prices limited to the change in inflation.

NBN Co’s chief regulatory affairs officer Jane van Beelen said the proposal would help to meet the expected increase in data demand in the next two decades.

‚ÄúBy eliminating capacity charges from the NBN home fast (100 Mbps) and above wholesale speed tiers, we are giving retailers great price certainty and providing a pathway for more customers to enjoy the many benefits of our highest speed tiers,‚ÄĚ she said.

‚ÄúBy reducing (capacity) charges and committing to adjust data inclusions over the next three years, we are providing high-value products that will smoothly transition to flat rate wholesale pricing on our 12, 25 and 50 Mbps speed tiers.‚ÄĚ

NBN Co previously put forward a pricing proposal to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which rejected it in May citing concerns over a lack of clarity for internet providers.

The consumer watchdog can only accept the proposal in its entirety or reject it.

ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said the organisation would closely examine the proposal.

‚ÄúWhile allowing time to undertake genuine consultation we are seeking to expedite the remainder of this process to allow the industry to adopt the new arrangements in a timely manner,‚ÄĚ Ms Brakey said.

‚ÄúWe recognise this process has extended over several years and see today as a significant milestone towards achieving a robust and effective regulatory framework for the NBN that will last well into the future.‚ÄĚ

A spokeswoman for the consumer watchdog said while the special access undertaking set the maximum wholesale price for NBN access, internet companies would still set retail prices.

‚ÄúA key consideration for the ACCC when reviewing proposed SAU variations is whether NBN consumers would be protected from price shocks, and from prices that are higher than necessary in future,‚ÄĚ she said.

‚ÄúNBN has also proposed rebalancing the cost of the wholesale offers that retailers use to supply consumer grade services.‚ÄĚ

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the new proposal responded to the concerns outlined by the ACCC.

‚ÄúAmendments to the (pricing proposal) submitted this week will help give certainty to NBN Co, consumers and industry,‚ÄĚ she said.

‚ÄúThe NBN supports much of Australia‚Äôs economy and many families and it is important we get the policy settings right.‚ÄĚ

 

Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)

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