Home Telecoms & NBN NBN SAU changes ‘unfair’ to consumers: ACCAN

NBN SAU changes ‘unfair’ to consumers: ACCAN

ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin has cast doubt on the fairness to consumers of proposed changes to the national broadband network Special Access Undertaking, the SAU.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network chief told a Melbourne conference on Wednesday she believed the SAU regulatory regime now being proposed to be in place next 23 years was unfair for consumers.

Corbin’s intervention follows comments on Monday by the competition regulator, the ACCC, that it wants an industry-led outcome on the variations to the SAU, rather than regulatory imposition.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims announced the commission had put off making a decision on NBN Co’s proposed variation to its SAU until the company has undertaken further consultation with customers on its pricing model for the NBN.

He also noted the ACCC was aware NBN Co was already consulting its customers — telecommunications companies that pay to access the NBN network — on potential alternatives to the current pricing model.

But Corbin says the proposed charge of $150 for consumers who are unable to self-install, for missed appointments or late cancellation of appointments, may affect some vulnerable consumers.

“We are also concerned about the removal of requirements to make rollout information available to the public. Access to this information is useful to many organisations and consumers.”

NBN Co submitted a revised SAU variation in June to incorporate fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-basement and hybrid fibre coaxial technologies (multi-technology mix services) into the SAU, to reflect the current NBN model, and effectively extending the current SAU pricing arrangements to these MTM services.

Corbin also showcased ACCAN’s consumer resources aimed at helping consumers in the switchover to the NBN including "5 things you need to know about NBN".

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).