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ACCC consulting on NBN POIs, again

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Having determined during 2012 the suburbs and towns in which Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) POIs – points of interconnect – would be located, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is now delving deeper into POI locations as well as interconnect procedures.

The competition regulator has issued a consultation paper covering the issues, seeking industry input into what remains a contentious debate.

The POI model has been criticised for favouring large players. With 121 POIs identified in the ACCC’s original work, the complaint is that national coverage becomes too expensive for smaller players, since they have to establish a presence at each point. A recent consolidation in the industry, exemplified by iiNet’s acquisition of second-tier player Internode, has in part been attributed to a search for scale as the NBN rolls out.

At the time, the ACCC also decided that the street addresses of POIs should be kept secret to protect their security – even though fire, rather than attack, is a more frequent visitor to Telstra exchanges, whose locations in most places are difficult to miss on account of the company logo on the structures.

The key issues at stake in the current consultation are:

POI usage – as a review of the POI strategy so far, the ACCC is asking providers to comment on which POIs they’re using for interconnection, and the kinds of services provided from each POI.

The extent of competition at the listed POIs – to ensure that competitive long-haul services existed, the ACCC and NBN Co located POIs where there are at least two fibre providers. The consultation paper now wants industry comment on this methodology.

The consultation runs until March 12. ®

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