When the day comes for NBN to be privatised, as originally planned by Kevin Rudd and Stephen Conroy at its inception, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is of the belief that it should be done in a way that maximises competition, rather than being focused on the largest sell-off price.
"Privatisation of the NBN will provide a unique opportunity to put in place a market structure with the potential to deliver effective infrastructure-based competition, such as through the horizontal disaggregation of NBN Co by different network technologies or areas of coverage," the ACCC wrote in its communications sector market study final report released on Thursday.
"The disaggregated parts would need to be able to contest each other's customer base. In our view, this form of infrastructure-based competition would encourage ongoing investment in network upgrades and deliver price benefits and improved services to consumers over time."
The ACCC recommended that the government continue planning for disaggregation, and that the issue be part of a future Productivity Commission inquiry into the NBN. The commission also expressed concern that if processes for separation are not put in place early, it could be used a reason to sell NBN holus-bolus.
"We understand that NBN Co has introduced separate accounts for the different lines of its business, which it provides to the government. In addition, we understand a report was commissioned by NBN Co on OSS and BSS separation and provided to the government, but neither the report itself nor its findings have been released publicly," the report said.
The ACCC has promoted the eventual separation of NBN for some time, with ACCC chairman Rod Sims stating in late 2014 that NBN should be split into