Competition watchdog seeks NBN forecast data
Access debate rolls on
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. ®
NBNCo plan to grow ARPU steeply
It might just be possible that the ACCC have actually read the NBNCo Corporate Plan and investigated the projections.
Have a read of the NBNCo Corporate Plan and see how many times the plan mentions strategies to drive up average revenue per user (ARPU). I don’t expect wholesale prices to rise, but the pace at which prices fall will be significantly less than the growth rate in usage. Please don’t take my word for it, instead go and read the NBNCo Corporate Plan.
Plans for AVC pricing are outlined on page 67:
* 1000/400Mbps falls from $150 to $90, while the average speed grows from 30Mbps to 230Mbps.
* Price falls by 40% while average speed grows by 760%
Plans for CVC pricing are outlined on page 67:
* Starts at $20Mbps/Month when the average data usage is 30GB/Month and falls to $8Mbps/Month when the average data usage is 540GB/month.
* Price falls by 2.5 times, while the average data usage grows by 18 times = growth in revenue from CVC of 720% when accounting for price falls.
The saddest part of the NBNCo debate is that those people who consider themselves informed have been blinded by “fast internet” bright lights and don’t actually understand what the government is planning. Worse than prices rises is the fact that NBNCo are building a fibre network, while at the same time predicting that 50% will connect at 12/1Mbps.
Re: NBNCo plan to grow ARPU steeply
"Worse than prices rises is the fact that NBNCo are building a fibre network, while at the same time predicting that 50% will connect at 12/1Mbps."
What's worse is that 90% of customers could be immediately (within 2 years) serviced by 100Mbit/100Mbit VDSL2, with fiber hooked up on an at request/need basis, ala Google Fiber.
Instead we have a decade of infrastructure stagnation for the majority of customers who sit on obsolete and abandoned ADSL/Cable and are not connected to NBN fiber. Meanwhile Labor delays the build out as it tries to massage the expenditure numbers in the budget.