NBN Co formally withdraws initial SAU

NBN Co has formally withdrawn its special access undertaking (SAU) it lodged with the ACCC in December last year.

The ACCC suspended its assessment of the SAU in June this year in anticipation of receiving a revised document, which NBN Co is expected to lodge soon.

“We said back in June we’d lodge a new undertaking that incorporated feedback from our customers and the regulator. To do that we needed to withdraw the previous SAU,” NBN Co said.

“We will be submitting a revised SAU in a matter of weeks following many months of detailed work, including ongoing consultation with the ACCC and customers.”

Contracts with RSPs will not be impacted by the withdrawal of the SAU as they have not yet run their full contract length, with the ACCC stating contracts were due to expire in November.

The initial SAU NBN Co lodged with the ACCC was widely criticised by the industry and ISPs. Malcolm Turnbull also attacked NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley over the SAU, stating NBN Co’s backdown with its revised SAU means the CEO can no longer claim that a government-run “communications monopoly” will be friendlier than a private sector option.

The SAU is designed to guarantee fixed wholesale prices over the next five years to service providers and provide a regulatory framework for the National Broadband Network wholesale services over 30 years.

It was created to work in conjunction with the wholesale broadband agreement (WBA), which defines commercial arrangements between NBN Co and ISPs over shorter time spans.

“Overall, the revised SAU strikes a better balance between providing certainty on NBN Co’s long-term cost recovery arrangements and flexibility for the other regulatory terms to evolve as required over time,” NBN Co said.

“Remember, this is about setting the long-term regulatory framework for the industry in an NBN-enabled world. We’ve been working closely with the industry and the [ACCC] to meet their concerns and ensure we get this right for the benefit of NBN Co, our customers and ultimately consumers.”

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