The ACCC Rules That The 'NBN Tax' Can Be Passed On To Customers

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has made its final decision regarding the regulation of high-speed internet services supplied by non-NBN fixed line networks - and if they can pass the "NBN tax" charge to customers.

In a change from the draft decision, the ACCC is letting non-NBN networks to pass on the Government's proposed Regional Broadband Scheme charge on their customer lines to help fund NBN's supply of non-commercial regional fixed wireless and satellite services.

The Government Wants You To Pay An NBN Tax

The government is pushing for a $7.10 levy to be implemented on the ISPs that deliver Australia's superfast fixed-line broadband, to help pay for the wireless and satellite portions of the National Broadband Network. That

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The internet services subject to the decision are called the superfast broadband access service and the Local Bitstream Access Service. These are wholesale "superfast" fixed-line broadband services capable of download speeds of normally 25 Mbps or more. They are supplied on non-NBN networks and provide similar services to the NBN.

"Our view is that the regulated prices based on the NBN prices may not have allowed these network providers to recover their reasonable costs if they were also required to absorb the proposed RBS charge," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. "One of our main aims has been to ensure that internet retailers and their customers supplied via the non-NBN networks will not be worse off than if they were supplied internet services by the NBN."

Under the final decision, the initial prices for providers other than Telstra will be $27.00 per port per month plus between $8.00 and $17.50 per Mbps per month for aggregation to a point of interconnection. The aggregation price payable will vary by retail service provider depending on the average amount of aggregation capacity that a RSP purchases per port.

Sims says the prices have been set in line with NBN prices, and will change with NBN prices over time to reflect the growth in traffic across the high speed internet sector. Sims says this will continue to drive down the average cost of supplying services.

"We expect that these price changes will help deliver better service performance for customers of non-NBN networks as they will allow retailers to provide faster services at a lower average price."

The ACCC says the very small providers of some high-speed internet services (supplying less than 12,000 customers) will not be regulated under this decision on the basis that it would apply an unreasonable burden to them with little benefit to customers. Terms set in the final decision only apply if access providers and access seekers cannot reach their own commercial agreements on prices and other terms for the relevant services.

The networks largely supply high-speed internet services in new housing estates and apartment buildings in central city locations. In many areas they supply internet services where the NBN does not offer services and provide customers in these areas with a limited choice of retailers of internet services. The major providers of these services are Telstra (South Brisbane and Velocity Estates fibre networks), TPG, Vocus, LBN Co, Opticomm, and OPENetworks.

The ACCC says the decision sets wholesale prices and other terms and conditions "that are expected to provide customers with a larger number of retailers to choose from and deliver them better prices and services".

The full final decision can be read here.


    Maybe it's just me, but I can't decipher the jargon. Someone mind doing a tl;Dr for those who have a brain melted from work ?

      TL;DR - We're about to hit you for more money while still giving shitty service because the NBN was underfunded and outdated thanks to the Liberal takeover of the project.

      TL;DR Capitalism strikes again

      The government is imposing a levy on non-NBN broadband networks: that is, private networks providing 25+ Mb/s service in place of service provided by NBNco (such as in a housing block or a new housing estate).

      Since these networks are in a monopoly position for the residents they serve, their prices were regulated to be the same as those charged by the NBNco. There was some contention about whether these network operators could pass on this additional cost to customers or not due to this regulation. The ACCC is saying that they can.

      The upshot is that if you happen to live in a house/flat served by one of these networks, your Internet bills are going to be higher than those charged to people served directly by NBNco.

        Why would you have a separate network set up in a new housing estate that is not NBN?

          I don't know all the logistics of it, but there are companies like OptiComm that are building private residential fibre networks that they then offer on wholesale terms to ISPs.

          I suspect part of the appeal is having a working high speed network before NBN arrives in the area.

          Edit: reading up on it a bit more, estate developers are required to build the fibre network connecting the new homes. A provider like OptiComm satisfies this requirement, but is likely cheaper than a standard NBN installation because OptiComm will have those residents as customers going forward.

          Last edited 29/05/17 4:37 pm

            Oh man, that would suck big time. Having a fault and you'd have to contact some random company that probably never wants to hear to you.

              I don't think handling faults would be that different to what you get with other connection methods: your point of contact is the ISP you have a contract with.

              I don't ring up Telstra Wholesale when I've got a problem with my ADSL, and if I had an NBN connection I wouldn't ring up NBNco.

                Hmmm good point. Still it would be your ISP contacting these outfits to fix it I would assume.

                Hmmm good point. Still it would be your ISP contacting these outfits to fix it I would assume.

    Should just privatise this monster now before NBN pushes up the price of all internet connections. My fttb connection is great, no government infrastructure, so why should I pay for a roll out I'll never use?

    From what I hear my 4g is faster than some people's NBN. Why pour more money into this beast?

      Because once the fibre is in place, you can change the equipment at each end and make it go faster.

    When you just start seeing that democracy is an illusion and that almost all decisions made on a political level are not for the interest of the people, but for big business and an increase of governmental cashflow control, these decisions make more sense and your frustrations can give way to action. It's the illusion of choice when you go to vote that makes you feel that you are contributing, and that you can change things, but you are not. You are a debt slave, and the only way to change is to remove the shackles of illusion that you have choice. Or relax and don't complain when you get but hurt.

    "the initial prices for providers other than Telstra"

    Is that dodgy? I think I understand James explanation above.
    But I'm still not sure I understand what this means as a whole but the quoted line just sounds super dodgy.

    Is this purely in area's where NBN is available or will people like me that don't have the NBN get charged this fee until we get it?

    Also I though you literally had no choice but to switch to the NBN. I don't quite get how this works.

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