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Competition watchdog seeks NBN forecast data

Access debate rolls on

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The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is setting itself the task of analysing the revenue forecasts for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), and has written to NBN Co requesting the release of a bunch of data to help.

The request is in this letter, (PDF) and is part of the ongoing debate over NBN Co’s proposed Special Access Undertaking (SAU). The SAU forms the basis of retailers’ access to the NBN, covering both price and non-price conditions. The competition regulator is now considering whether to accept the current SAU, which supersedes an earlier undertaking offered by NBN Co.

The ACCC is seeking data that would allow it to forecast the following:

NBN Co’s capital asset value (including capital expenditure, operational expenditure, along with a running total of asset value and forecast year-by-year asset disposals); Product price expectations for each year (including maximum prices); NBN Co’s demand forecasts based on different price scenarios; NBN Co revenues.

The regulator says the information “will be used to model the implications of a range of cost, demand, pricing and revenue scenarios for the long-term revenue constraint methodology in the SAU over the SAU term. This will provide the ACCC with a more informed view on the expected length of the initial cost recovery period, and likely incentives generated by the SAU price controls.”

Optus had previously requested access to NBN Co forecasts as part of its consideration of the SAU, suggesting that a confidentiality regime should be established to allow the industry to exchange information. This was resisted at the time by NBN Co. ®

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