Watchdog warns NBN Co over discrimination

The National Broadband Network has copped an official warning from the competition watchdog after the taxpayer-funded wholesaler allowed one telco to see sensitive pricing information months before its rivals.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said NBN Co discriminated between retail service providers when, from at least January 2018, it revealed materially different commercial terms to Macquarie Telecom while upgrading its infrastructure to support high-speed, business-grade internet services.

NBN Co also provided Macquarie with indicative pricing information for its new Enterprise Ethernet service in February 2018, months before it gave the same information to others, including Telstra.

There is no evidence the conduct resulted in specific harm or competitive detriment before it came to light.

Following the ACCC’s investigation, NBN Co admitted it did not have appropriate processes in place to ensure it was complying with its transparency and non-discrimination obligations.

“The ACCC has concluded that NBN Co failed to comply with its non-discrimination obligations on a number of fronts,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“These legal obligations were enacted to ensure that NBN Co does not distort competition in the market for retail NBN services, such as by favouring larger (providers).”

NBN has made a court-enforceable undertaking which includes a commitment to ensure the conduct is not repeated.

NBN Co also said it will offer consistent contract terms to providers for the supply of upgraded NBN infrastructure, and ensure the information is delivered at the same time.

AAP

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