ACCC amends superfast broadband class exemption

ACCC amends superfast broadband class exemption

Considers extending the threshold from 2,000 to 12,000 customers

Credit: ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has amended the Telecommunications (Superfast Broadband Network Class Exemption) Determination 2020 to adjust its term of operation.

The class exemption, originally issued by the ACCC in August, exempts small networks with less than 2,000 residential customers from the requirement to operate on a wholesale-only basis, provided that the eligible network has elected to be bound by the exemption.

In November, the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation wrote to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher expressing a concern that the class exemption was to remain in force for at least 10 years, until it sunsets under the Legislation Act 2003.

Following an exchange of correspondence between the Minister and the committee, the committee indicated it would be amenable to the class exemption being amended to specify that it ceases to operate five years after its commencement.

The amendment issued by the ACCC adjusts the class exemption to this effect.

The class exemption retains its mechanism to allow the eligibility threshold to increase to a maximum of 12,000 residential customers if this is specified in any regulations.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is currently seeking views on whether such a regulation should be made, which would increase the customer limit to 12,000 customers.

The consultation period ends 5 February 2021.

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