Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Vertigan Panel's First Report Released

22 July 2014

The Government today tabled in Parliament the statutory review of the telecommunications access regime and rules relating to the operation of NBN Co. This review was required under section 152EOA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The review was undertaken by a panel of experts, led by Dr Michael Vertigan, as part of its independent cost-benefit analysis of broadband policy and review of regulatory arrangements.

The review includes proposals for greater accountability for the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) and oversight of ACCC ‘decisions of enduring impact’ (such as making an access determination).

The panel also proposed when the ACCC declares or regulates a service, it should be obliged to explain why the benefits of regulation exceed its costs.

The panel recommends relaxing the very tight anti-discrimination restrictions on NBN Co if discrimination aids economic efficiency (with this to be monitored by the ACCC).

  • For example, NBN Co might vary its terms for a retail service provider (RSP) bearing risk from pioneering a particular innovation, so the RSP potentially gains some benefit.
  • This may concern some carriers (but potentially offers greatest benefit to small players).

The panel proposes RSPs have greater recourse to the ACCC in relation to terms and conditions of an access agreement they have concerns with.

The review is the first report of the Vertigan Panel. The panel is continuing with its cost-benefit analysis work and review of broader structural and regulatory issues and is expected to complete these elements over the next few weeks.

The Government thanks the Panel for its important work to date and looks forward to industry responding to the Review and the broader Vertigan report in due course.

Media enquiries: David Bold 0427 784 451
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