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ACCC happy with competition level in NBN aggregation

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(Image: Chris Duckett/ZDNet)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not demand that dark fibre and National Broadband Network (NBN) wholesale aggregation service providers hand over pricing and supply data, after saying on Thursday it was happy with the level of competition.

“The ACCC considers that competition in the market for NBN aggregation services is developing as the NBN rollout continues, and that this has largely addressed customer concerns,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Such services are used by smaller NBN retailers to reach customers where they do not own infrastructure. Alongside dark fibre and NBN aggregators, the Commission added that other alternatives are available, such as NBN’s virtual network-network interface product.

“We have seen significant recent developments in this market, including the entry of more providers, a bigger variety of products, and more reliable passing through of NBN price discounts and product launches to wholesale customers,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

Under the proposed rules, dark fibre providers and NBN aggregators would have had to report quarterly on the supply and price of services.

Earlier this month, the ACCC decided to oppose the merger between TPG and Vodafone Australia.

The Commission said it believed the merger would substantially lessen competition, and that TPG had the commercial incentive to roll out a mobile network.

“TPG is the best prospect Australia has for a new mobile network operator to enter the market, and this is likely the last chance we have for stronger competition in the supply of mobile services,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Wherever possible, market structures should be settled by the competitive process, not by a merger which results in a market structure that would be subject to little challenge in the future. This is particularly the case in concentrated sectors, such as mobile services in Australia.”

In response, Vodafone Australia and TPG are heading to Federal Court for a merger approval.

The ACCC’s record in opposing mergers is far from spotless, and on Wednesday had its proceedings to prevent a merger between Pacific National and Aurizon rail companies be dismissed in Federal Court.

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