In-depth: Summary of NBN regulatory submissions

Key points submitted to the gov't by telcos, ISPs, industry consortiums and major players on the regulatory framework of the NBN

BT Australia

BT submitted that Telstra's position as the dominant provider of services over the local copper loop and its presence in the downstream market is one that gives the incumbent the opportunity and incentive to discriminate against its competitors. BT stated that "the combination of upstream dominance and vertical integration has the potential to restrict the growth of competition in the Australian market".

BT believes that "the creation of a genuinely competitive communications market is dependent on the opening up of bottleneck assets through the establishment of equivalence of input for appropriate products for operators with significant market power. Indeed, the success of the NBN may be dependent on the establishment of appropriate separation remedies for the Australian market as a whole and not just the new NBN... Imposing a form of operational or functional separation which adequately addresses the incentive of operators to discriminate should be an essential part of the new regulatory regime in Australia. "

Competitive Carriers Coalition

The Competitive Carriers' Coalition is an industry association representing the interests of non-dominant carriers in telecommunications markets in Australia. CCC has been one of the most vocal opponents of Telstra and is a supporter of structural separation of the NBN owner/operator, believing that if Telstra were to build and operate the NBN it would result in discrimination against access providers, less competition and ultimately higher costs for consumers

"The CCC notes that in recent days there have been a number of comments by Telstra that the CCC interprets as representing Telstra's position with regard to appropriate regulatory arrangements for an NBN. The CCC understands the main points of this position to be claims that Telstra requires:

  • The right to a new, unregulated monopoly,
  • That Telstra alone be able to decide whether or not to provide access to this monopoly to any of its competitors,
  • That Telstra will choose if Australians have a choice of telecommunications provider,
  • That the Government reject the clearly necessary structural reforms that you [Senator Conroy] and many others have called for over the past several years,
  • That the lessons of other countries and other industries be ignored in order to allow Telstra free rein in the Australian communications markets.

    "It is clear that Telstra intends to ignore the conditions set out in the national broadband network request for tender documents, and to ignore the overwhelming community demands for stronger competition rules in order to secure better choice, prices and services for all Australians. The Government cannot allow this to occur."

    Communications Experts Group

    "Proposed changes to the regulatory environment include: introduce functional separation for the provision on telecom links and expand the scope of activities that service providers may undertake. Introduce a new mediation and dispute resolution organisation to resolve the conflicts that will occur in the transition to fully functional separated entities.

    Provide exemptions to local governments in the provision of telecom infrastructure such as ducts, conduits and masts. Encourage local governments to be more proactive in planning and providing telecom infrastructure to reduce the cost of building the NBN, and enable service providers to distribute free to air TV to local communities. A Fibre to the Premises [FttP] should the ultimate goal, however financial, practical and regulatory considerations make a Fibre to the Node [FttN] solution a desirable and feasible stepping stone to a fully developed Fibre to the Premises network."


    "In the view of Primus the Expert Panel must ensure than any NBN proposals received for consideration are based on a structurally separated foundation. This is the only way to ensure that decisions around the design and construction of the NBN, as well as its ongoing operation, are made to protect and advance the competitive outlook. This framework has been successfully introduced in the gas and electricity industries in Australia, and has been implemented in relation to telecommunications infrastructure in overseas jurisdictions. Primus sees this current process as the one chance to get the structure right in the communications and broadband industry in Australia. Primus urges the Expert panel to take this decision, for the good of competition, and for the good of consumer interests in Australia."


    Hutchison's primary submissions are that every telecommunications provider should have the right to obtain wholesale access to the services provided by the NBN on equivalent terms and conditions, and that the Government should mandate structural separation of the NBN. "This principle applies regardless of whether the successful Proponent is currently the owner or operator of wholesale or retail operations. That is, the NBN regime must be future-proofed," Hutchison said. "If existing infrastructure, including Telstra's sub-loops, is used by a successful proponent to satisfy the Government's objectives for the NBN, that existing infrastructure should be transferred to the NBN to ensure there is a single wholesale access regime...The Government should seek further submissions on the access arrangements once it selects a Proposal since the detail of the access regime will depend on the content of that Proposal." Hutchison cited the UK, Singapore and NZ as three overseas markets where structural separation has been endorsed.

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