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Are Three NBNs Better Than One?

The third of those weighty tomes from the Vertigan Review panel was all about market power and regulation. It reckons that the current model, with NBN Co controlling the full spectrum of technologies, “inhibits the development of competition, is difficult to effectively regulate and results in unacceptable risks to, and costs on, taxpayers and consumers”.

The recommendation is that NBNCo is actually split into three competing business units – one for each of the three main technologies. This, they reckon would provide a market structure in Australia where similarly sized networks would compete, much as happens in North America and significant parts of Europe. But are they right?

In this week’s CrossTalk we discuss how, if that’s the end game, the best opportunity for success is to enforce the separation sooner rather than later.

We hear some of the discussion on the topic at this week’s NBN Rebooted conference in Sydney, including economist and Vertigan review panellist Henry Ergas, ACCC Chair Rod Sim, Opticom Regulatory Officer Phil Smith, Macquarie Telecom’s Matt Healy and NBNCo Chief Customer Officer John Simon.

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