NBN Withdraws Its Plan That Would Have Increased the Cost of Internet

NBN Withdraws Its Plan That Would Have Increased the Cost of Internet
Image: NBN/Gizmodo Australia

The company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network has withdrawn its plan that would have dramatically increased the cost of internet. Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland is declaring this a win for consumers.

NBN Co submitted a variation to its Special Access Undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) back in March. The Special Access Undertaking, the ACCC explains, is a key part of the regulation of the NBN. It sets the rules for broadband providers to access the NBN over the coming decades, such as how the minimum service standards and price caps will be determined over time, to promote competitive and efficient markets that benefit consumers.

The proposal by NBN, however, was considered “unacceptable” by Rowland.

“At the core of the Albanese government’s priorities are the long-term interests of Australian consumers,” Rowland is quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying. She declared similar in a tweet on Thursday morning.

“This means affordable prices and a quality, resilient network. In contrast, the Special Access Undertaking variation lodged in March 2022 under the former government would have allowed NBN price increases of inflation plus three per cent a year on some products,” she continued. “This was underpinned by unrealistic revenue expectations, and reflected a view to privatisation.”

If implemented, the pricing would have increased the access charge for any 100Mbps or higher plan by the rate of the consumer price index (CPI) with an additional 3 per cent on top for the first two years.

A release from Aussie Broadband quotes stats from the ACCC in declaring that the cost to retailers for 50Mbps fixed line broadband connections would have been expected to equal 100Mbps plan offerings within only a few years. Naturally, Aussie Broadband said it welcomes the call for a revised Special Access Undertaking that “provides more certainty for retailers”.

The plan now, the ACCC said, is for the watchdog to host an industry meeting in mid-August to allow NBN Co and its stakeholders to present their views on a revised variation to the undertaking. The ACCC will also publicly consult on the revised proposal, when it receives it, as required under the relevant legislation.