ACCC to continue regulating wholesale ADSL services until 2022

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it has decided to continue regulating wholesale ADSL services on a national basis for a further five years, a move it says will promote the long-term interests of customers during the transition to the NBN.

The wholesale ADSL service was first declared in February 2012. When a retail service provider declares its intention to offer service via the ADSL operator’s network, said operator must provide access upon request. If an commercial agreement can’t be reached, regulated price and non-price terms determined by the ACCC will apply.

“Continued access to wholesale ADSL services remains in the transition to the NBN and is critical to enable retail providers to compete with the dominant provider, Telstra, in the supply of high speed broadband services nationally,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

Cifuentes added that “declaring the ADSL service will lead to a more competitive retail sector which is likely to deliver greater choices for end users in the form of better prices, service quality and service options.”

Cifuentes said that industry submissions commenting on the wholesale ADSL scheme generally supported the ACCC’s approach.”

The ACCC’s final report is available here.

Speaking of the NBN, the ACCC has also released its latest quarterly report on the wholesale NBN market.

Key points from the December report:

  • NBN Co was supplying a total of 1,705,270 broadband wholesale access services, an increase of 316,605 (28%) since the last reporting period.
  • There were 54,829 long term satellite services in operation. Australian Private Networks has the leading market share, followed by Skymesh.
  • There were 14,551 HFC services in operation. Optus has the most services, followed by TPG and Telstra.
  • Demand for aggregate network capacity (Connectivity Virtual Circuit) continues to increase with NBN Co contracted to supply 1.78 Tbps, up from 1.5 Tbps in October 2016.
  • The top four acquirers of NBN access services remain Telstra, TPG, Optus and Vocus.

“While still early days in the acquisition of services over the NBN, it is pleasing to note that competitors are making inroads into Telstra’s traditional dominance of broadband services in regional areas,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. “The report demonstrates that competitors to Telstra are providing 47% of NBN services to end users in the regions, which is considerably above their traditional share of customers in these areas.”

In metropolitan areas, however, Telstra’s share of NBN services is around their traditional market share, Sims said.

The ACCC report also said 25/5 Mbps remains the most popular speed tier on the NBN, but that there has been a large increase in uptake of 100/40 Mbps tiers.

Sims noted that this is the first wholesale NBN report to include NBN services in operation on HFC and long-term satellite access technologies.

“The inclusion of HFC networks and long-term satellite provides a more detailed picture of the roll out of the multi-technology mix. Since the first report in April 2016, NBN Co has almost doubled the number of wholesale access services it supplies across different access technologies,” Sims said.

The report also found that four smaller, regionally based retail service providers have captured more than 80% of the satellite market share in remote and regional Australia.

The full report is available here.

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