ACCAN has responded to an ACCC consultation on NBN’s proposed variation to its Special Access Undertaking (SAU), where the ACCC must decide whether to accept or reject the proposed variation. The SAU sets out the rules by which NBN provides wholesale access to retailers. The details in the SAU can determine the price and quality of voice and broadband services delivered over the NBN until 2040. The consultation comes after more than a year of stakeholder discussions and workshops hosted by the ACCC which ACCAN has engaged with.

ACCAN’s response to this consultation focuses on the price, service quality, and revenue constraint aspects of the SAU. Whilst there are some elements of NBN’s proposal which will benefit consumers, on balance ACCAN recommends that the ACCC reject the SAU variation in its current form. The reasons for this include:


  • A lack of price certainty for the entry-level service over the lifetime of the SAU.
  • Prices for different service speeds which converge over the duration of the SAU, limiting consumer choice and affecting the affordability of certain service speeds over time.
  • A lack of a long term commitment to establishing a service targeted at helping low income households use the network.

Service quality:

  • A lack of a service quality framework to protect against poor reliability, including appropriate timeframes for faults and repairs, new connections and appointment keeping as well as a sufficient utilisation management commitment.
  • Insufficient transparency requirements regarding network quality issues.

Revenue constraints:

  • The lack of acknowledgment of the significant economic and social benefits that the NBN has delivered.
  • Uncertainty regarding the Initial Cost Recovery Account at the end of the SAU, as well as the extent to which the ‘unders and overs’ account will protect future users from price rises.
  • The appropriateness of mechanisms which could increase NBN’s allowed revenue such as the financeability test, Expenditure Objectives, Expenditure Factors and cost-pass through applications.
  • The need for more oversight of cost allocation between competitive and non-competitive services

Download: docxACCAN Submission to ACCC SAU Variation 2022.docx4.77 MB

Download: pdfACCAN Submission to ACCC SAU Variation 2022.pdf500.06 KB